Soil characteristics that affect the accumulation of carbon include the soil order (type), soil texture,
drainage, and acidity.1
The soil order reflects the native environment under which the soil was formed, and this can be helpful in
determining the soil's innate capacity to sequester organic carbon under ideal conditions.
Soil texture is indicative of the aggregate structure of soil and its moisture-holding capacity.2
continuously wet soils with limited oxygen capacity, such as those found in wetlands, and areas of poor
drainage, an ideal setting is provided for slowing decomposition, thereby increasing the carbon
Further, research indicates that soil wetness as indicated by drainage classes is an ideal indicator of
organic carbon accumulation.4
Soil acidity is presumed to play an important role in the accumulation and decomposition of organic matter
in soils. While some soil scientists have observed organic matter accumulating faster in acidic
others have observed carbon accumulating in moderate acidity to slightly alkaline
soil conditions (pH 5.6-7.8).1
- Cihacek, L.J., Personal communications, 2004.
- Johnson, C.M., Zarin, D.J., and Johnson, A.H., 2000, Post-disturbance aboveground biomass accumulation
in global secondary forests: Ecology, v. 81, p. 1395-1401.
- Paustian, K.H., and Cole. C.V., 1998, CO2 mitigation by agriculture - an overview: Climatic
v. 40, p. 135-162.
- Davidson, E A., 1995, Spatial covariation of soil organic carbon, clay content, and drainage class at
a regional scale: Landscape Ecology, v. 10, no. 6, p. 349-362.
- Collins, M.E., and Kuehl, R.J., 2001, Organic matter accumulation and organic soils in wetland soils
genesis, hydrology, landscapes, and classification: Lewis Publishers, p. 1-417.