Monitoring soil carbon stocks in Flanders

Project Details


Organic material in the soil fulfils several functions. It protects the soil against erosion and drought, makes the plants that grow on it more disease-resistant and increases underground biodiversity. On top of that, it represents an enormous underground supply of carbon (C), which can cause the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere to drop as it increases, or become a CO2 leak as it decreases. To understand these two processes, we first need to know where the carbon stocks are located and how they evolve over time. The development of a monitoring system for soil carbon in Flanders is essential in order to provide an answer to this.

There is also a need for data in order to be able to carry out international climate change reporting in a reliable manner. Currently, this is done on the basis of historical trends and literature, but these values do not sufficiently reflect reality. The effects of certain measures, such as management measures to promote carbon sequestration or land use change, can also be insufficiently assessed.

Within the project Cmon (Updating and refinement of the foundation of a methodology for the systematic monitoring of soil carbon stocks), INBO, together with UGent and ILVO, developed a sampling strategy and measuring network for the monitoring of soil carbon in Flanders. The required number of sampling locations was optimized based on the observed variation from previous samples. Every year 10% of the measurement sites are visited, so after 10 years the complete monitoring network is finished and a remeasurement can be started. The project proposed here aims to roll out the first 4 years of the monitoring network, so carry out all measurements for 40% of the sites and use the measurement results to increase our knowledge and support policy.
Effective start/end date1/06/2130/09/25

Thematic list

  • Climate

Thematic List 2020

  • Forest
  • Soil & air
  • Climate