Soil Carbon in Florida

By Dr. Sabine Grunwald

Research on soil-landscape modeling of soil organic carbon provided the first high-resolution soil organic carbon (SOC) assessment for the State of Florida. SOC is critical to sustain soil health and security, it enhances soil nutrient holding to reduce adverse impacts to the environment, and mitigates the effects of global climate change. In this publication, a new holistic soil-environmental modeling framework was presented using geospatial technologies, machine learning and remote sensing. The soil carbon maps have been incorporated in the Florida Forever Project, Department of Environmental Protection, Florida’s premier conservation and recreation lands acquisition program.

Dr. Sabine Grunwald

Dr. Sabine Grunwald’s research on soil carbon mapping at various scales is described in a series of posts covering related projects.

Related research has linked soil carbon sequestration in Florida to land use and global climate change. Higher temperature tended to accelerate SOC accumulation, while higher precipitation reduced the SOC sequestration rate. Land use/land cover change observed over the past four decades also favored the C sequestration in soils due to the increase in the C-rich wetland area by ~140% and decrease in the C-poor agricultural area by ~20%. Soils are likely to provide a substantial soil C sink considering the climate and LULC projections for this region.

In a nutshell: Florida soils are very carbon rich and have accumulated tremendous amounts over the past 45 years.

Xiong, X, S. Grunwald, D.B. Myers, J. Kim, W. Harris, and N. Comerford. (2014). Environmental Modelling & Software 57:202-215.

Xiong, X, S. Grunwald, D.B. Myers, C.W. Ross, W. Harris, and N. Comerford. (2014). Interaction effects of climate and land use/land cover change on soil organic carbon sequestration. Science of the Total Environment 493: 974–982.

For more information on work being done in the Pedometrics, Landscape Analysis & GIS Laboratory, see