Characterization of Benchmark Spots of Selected Red and Black Soils in Semi-Arid Tropics of India for Identifying Systems for Carbon Sequestration and Increased Productivity in Semi-Arid Tropical Environments: Global Theme on Agroecosystems Report no. 42 uri icon


  • Fifty two pedons spread over 28 Benchmark (BM) spots were studied in different systems viz. agricultural, horticultural, forest and wasteland. The agricultural system represents dominant crops namely cereals, soybean and cotton. The horticultural system represents mandarins. The forest systems represent teak (Tectona sp.) and sal (Shorea sp.). The selection of BM spots were limited to a mean annual rainfall (MAR) range from 1448 to 520 mm in semi-arid tropics, India and encompass various bioclimatic systems such as sub-humid (moist) (MAR >1200 mm), sub-humid (dry) (MAR 1200-1000 mm), semi-arid (dry) (1000-850 mm), semi-arid (moist) (850-550 mm) and arid (<550 mm). In order to find out the level of carbon (organic and inorganic) in soils as influenced by different land use systems, the quality and quantity of (soil) substrates require to be similar. Judging by dominantly clayey and smectitic nature of black soils (Vertisols and their intergrades) and the associated red soils, they were selected for the present study. The soils were characterized in terms of morphological, physical and chemical properties with the data sets generated in the field and laboratory. Each profile was also characterized by the climatic data, indicating monthly potential evapotranspiration (PET), rainfall, temperature and length of growing period (LGP) data. The exact landscape situations, cropping patterns and typical soil profiles depicted through photographs further indicate the exact location of each spot studied in this project. The present document attempts to find out various relation of morphological, physical and chemical properties of soils as far as both organic and inorganic carbon sequestration are concerned. The present document also helps in estimating carbon stock in different system under various bioclimatic zones in semi-arid tropics, India as detailed in subsequent working reports

publication date

  • 2008