Residence time of carbon in paddy soils

Yalong Liu, Tida Ge, Ping Wang, Kees Jan van Groenigen, Xuebin Xu, Kun Cheng, Zhenke Zhu, Jingkuan Wang, Georg Guggenberger, Ji Chen, Yiqi Luo, Yakov Kuzyakov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Mean residence time (MRT) of carbon (C) in soil is the most important parameter of C sequestration and stability and crucial for CO2 removal from the atmosphere. Climate and soil properties controls of MRT of upland soils are well known, but the drivers of C stability in paddies were never summarized. Here, we estimated MRT of paddies across monsoon Asia using the stock-over-flux method, i.e., soil organic C (SOC) stock over organic matter input considering the net primary production (NPP), and determined the main factors affecting SOC turnover. The average MRT of paddy soils in monsoon Asia ranges between 19 and 50 yr, depending on straw management. These estimates are similar to recent estimates for the global average MRT across all soils, but longer than for upland croplands. Tropical regions have the shortest MRT for rice paddies (16–42 yr), while the MRT of C in soils of temperate and subtropical regions are longer (20–56 yr). Across a wide range of environmental factors, MRT was most strongly affected by temperature. We estimate that 2 °C warming decreases MRT by 7% on average, with the strongest decreases in the western Indonesian islands and north-east China. Because C stocks per area in paddy soils are larger and the MRT is longer than in corresponding upland cropland soils, paddies play a key role in the global C cycle. Our results emphasize the need for management practices that retain stable soil C input rates to reduce possible positive feedbacks for global warming.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number136707
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
StatePublished - May 10 2023


  • Carbon cycle and sequestration
  • Climate effects
  • Land use
  • Organic carbon turnover
  • Rice fields
  • Soil carbon stability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Strategy and Management


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