عنوان مقاله [English]
Soil organic carbon is one of the most important basis for assessing soil quality, health, and fertility. Therefore, accurate, rapid, and inexpensive measurement of soil organic carbon is essential to determine efficient management and conservation practices, which might increase carbon sequestration or preservation in soils. Soil carbon measurement methods are generally classified into two categories: ex-situ and new in situ methods. The first category includes traditional field-collected samples and chemical laboratory degradation of soil organic matter using wet and dry combustion methods. These methods are often expensive, time-consuming, and environmentally destructive. In many cases, common sampling and laboratory errors have resulted in these approaches to be less precise. In situ methods, including infrared reflectance spectroscopy, laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy, inelastic neutron scattering, and remote sensing, are considered more efficient, especially in large-scale national studies as utilizing such methods may increase the speed and accuracy of measuring and significantly reduce the cost of conventional field sampling and laboratory analysis. National quality monitoring of Iranian agricultural soils showed that in more than 60% of lands, soil organic carbon content is less than one percent and further studies have confirmed the declining trend of organic carbon storages in most parts of the country. On one hand, more than 80% of Iran's land area is located in an arid and semi-arid climate whose soils are low in organic carbon content, and on the other hand, the salinity and predominance of calcareous soils in vast areas of Iran have become controversial issues, which have made the attempts to find the correct method of measuring the organic carbon of these soils more complicated. Although the use of an automated carbon analyzer is considered as the standard method for comparing the ex-situ soil carbon measurements, the incomplete conversion of carbonate to CO2 under the combustion conditions in highly calcareous soils might happens which is problematic. Therefore, the use of wet combustion methods is more popular because it’s not affected by the presence of carbonates and the direct calculation of organic carbon. All soil organic carbon measurement methods have strengths and weaknesses, so its choice depends on the characteristics of the studied soils, the purpose of the project as well as the financial considerations, and the allocated budget. Considering the lack of comprehensive studies in this field, the present study aims to help to gain a better understanding of the results of the Walkley Black method, as the basic method of measuring soil organic carbon in Iran, and to assist with developing a standard and robust protocol for measuring the organic carbon of saline and calcareous soils of Iran, and finally to comparatively evaluate the soil carbon measurement methods by outlining their strengths and weaknesses.
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