Skip to main content Accessibility help
Hostname: page-component-5d6d958fb5-7qpfz Total loading time: 0.453 Render date: 2022-11-28T02:02:41.615Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "useRatesEcommerce": false, "displayNetworkTab": true, "displayNetworkMapGraph": false, "useSa": true } hasContentIssue true

Article contents

Radiocarbon and Stable Carbon Isotopes in Two Soil Profiles from Northeast India

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 July 2016

Amzad H Laskar*
Geosciences Division, Physical Research Laboratory, Ahmedabad 380009, India
M G Yadava
Geosciences Division, Physical Research Laboratory, Ahmedabad 380009, India
R Ramesh
Geosciences Division, Physical Research Laboratory, Ahmedabad 380009, India
Corresponding author. Email:
Rights & Permissions[Opens in a new window]


HTML view is not available for this content. However, as you have access to this content, a full PDF is available via the ‘Save PDF’ action button.

Two soil profiles from northeast India, one from Bakrihawar, an agricultural land, and the other from Chandipur, a virgin hilly area from Assam, are investigated to understand the organic carbon dynamics of the area. Due to frequent flooding, the Bakrihawar soil has accumulated a higher clay content than that of Chandipur. The carbon content is less than 1% by weight in both the sites. The higher clay content is responsible for relatively more soil organic carbon at Bakrihawar. The mean δ13C values at both sites reflect the values of the overlying vegetation. At Bakrihawar, both rice cultivation (C3) and natural C4 grasses contribute to higher mean enriched values of 13C relative to Chandipur, where the surface vegetation is mostly of C3 type. The turnover time of organic carbon, estimated using the residual radiocarbon content, depends strongly on the soil particle size distribution, especially the clay content (i.e. it increases with clay content). To the best of our knowledge, this is the first soil carbon dynamics study of its kind from northeast India.

Copyright © 2012 by the Arizona Board of Regents on behalf of the University of Arizona 


Accoe, F, Boeckx, P, Van Cleemput, O, Hofman, G, Zhang, Y, Hua, LR, Guanxiong, C. 2002. Evolution of the δ13C signature related to total carbon contents and carbon decomposition rate constants in a soil profile under grassland. Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry 16(23):2184–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Balesdent, J, Girardin, C, Mariotti, A. 1993. Site-related δ13C of tree leaves and soil organic matter in a temperate forest. Ecology 74(6):1713–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Balesdent, J, Chenu, C, Balabane, M. 2000. Relationship of soil organic matter dynamics to physical protection and tillage. Soil and Tillage Research 53(3–4):215–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Becker-Heidmann, P, Scharpenseel, H-W. 1989. Carbon isotope dynamics in some tropical soils. Radiocarbon 31(3):672–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Biedenbender, SH, McClaran, MP, Quade, J, Weltz, MA. 2004. Landscape patterns of vegetation change indicated by soil carbon isotope composition. Geoderma 109(1–2):6983.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bostörm, B, Comstedt, D, Ekblad, A. 2007. Isotope fractionation and 13C enrichment in soil profiles during the decomposition of soil organic matter. Oecologia 153(1):8998.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bradford, MA, Davies, CA, Frey, SD, Maddox, TR, Melillo, JM, Mohan, JE, Reynolds, JF, Treseder, KK, Wallenstein, MD. 2008. Thermal adaptation of soil microbial respiration to elevated temperature. Ecology Letters 11(12):1316–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Caner, L, Seen, DL, Gunnel, Y, Ramesh, BR, Bourgeon, G. 2007. Spatial heterogeneity of land cover response to climatic change in the Nilgiri highlands (Southern India) since the last glacial maximum. The Holocene 17(2):195205.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Carver, RE. 1971. Sedimentation analysis. In: Carver, RE. Procedures in Sedimentary Petrology. New York: Wiley-Interscience. p 6994.Google Scholar
Deines, P. 1980. The isotopic composition of reduced organic carbon. In: Fritz, P, Fontes, J, editors. Handbook of Environmental Isotope Geochemistry, Volume I, Part A. The Terrestrial Environment. New York: Elsevier. p 329406.Google Scholar
Ehleringer, JR, Buchmann, N, Flanagan, LB. 2000. Carbon isotope ratios in belowground carbon cycle processes. Ecological Applications 10(2):412–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Feller, C, Beare, MH. 1997. Physical control of soil organic matter dynamics in the tropics. Geoderma 79(1–4):69116.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Giardina, CP, Ryan, MG. 2000. Evidence that decomposition rates of organic carbon in mineral soil do not vary with temperature. Nature 404(6780):858–1.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
India Meteorology Department. 1999. Climatological Tables of Observatories in India 1951–1980. New Delhi: National Data Centre. Scholar
Kohn, MJ. 2010. Carbon isotope compositions of terrestrial C3 plants as indicators of (paleo)ecology and (paleo)climate. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 107:19,6915.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Laskar, AH. 2011. Stable and radioactive carbon in Indian soils: implications to soil carbon dynamics [PhD thesis]. Udaipur: Mohanlal Sukhadia University, India.Google Scholar
Laskar, AH, Sharma, N, Ramesh, R, Jani, RA, Yadava, MG. 2010. Paleoclimate and paleovegetation of Lower Narmada Basin, Gujarat, Western India, inferred from stable carbon and oxygen isotopes. Quaternary International 227(2):183–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Leavitt, SW, Follett, RF, Kimble, JM, Pruessner, EG. 2007. Radiocarbon and δ13C depth profiles of soil organic carbon in the U.S. Great Plains: a possible spatial record of paleoenvironment and paleovegetation. Quaternary International 162–163:2134.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Manjaiah, KM, Kumar, S, Sachdev, MS, Sachdev, P, Datta, SC. 2010. Study of clay-organic complexes. Current Science 98:915–21.Google Scholar
McPhearson, GR, Boutton, TW, Midwood, AJ. 1993. Stable carbon isotope analysis of soil organic matter illustrates vegetation change at the grassland/woodland boundary in southeastern Arizona, USA. Oecologia 93(1):95101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Plante, AF, Conant, RT, Stewart, CE, Paustian, K, Six, J. 2006. Impact of soil texture on the distribution of soil organic matter in physical and chemical fractions. Soil Science Society of America Journal 70(1):287–96.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Quade, J, Cerling, TE. 1995. Expansion of C4 grasses in the Late Miocene of Northern Pakistan: evidence from stable isotopes of paleosols. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 115(1–4):91116.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Raich, JW, Schlesinger, WH. 1992. The global carbon dioxide flux in soil respiration and its relationship to vegetation and climate. Tellus B 44(2):8199.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Rice, CW. 2002. Organic matter and nutrient dynamics. In: Lal, R, editor. Encyclopedia of Soil Science. New York: Marcel Dekker Inc. p 925–8.Google Scholar
Schimel, DS, Braswell, BH, Holland, EA, McKeown, R, Ojima, DS, Painter, TS, Parton, WJ, Townsend, AR. 1994. Climatic, edaphic and biotic controls over storage and turnover of carbon in soils. Global Biogeochemical Cycles 8(3):279–93.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Sukumar, R, Ramesh, R, Pant, RK, Rajagopalan, G. 1993. A δ13C record of late Quaternary climate change from tropical peats in southern India. Nature 364(6439):703–6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Telles, ECC, de Camargo, PB, Martinelli, LA, Trumbore, SE, da Costa, ES, Santos, J, Higuchi, N, Oliveira, RC Jr. 2003. Influence of soil texture on carbon dynamics and storage potential in tropical forest soils of Amazonia. Global Biogeochemical Cycles 17:1040, doi:10.1029/2002GB001953.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Thompson, MV, Randcrson, JT, Malmström, CM, Field, CB. 1996. Change in net primary production and heterotrophic respiration: How much is necessary to sustain terrestrial carbon sink? Global Biogeochemical Cycles 10(4):711–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Torn, MS, Swanston, CW, Castanha, C, Trumborc, SE. 2009. Storage and turnover of organic matter in soil. In: Senesi, N, Xing, B, Huang, PM, editors. Biophysico-Chemical Processes Involving Natural Nonliving Organic Matter in Environmental Systems. Hoboken: Wiley. p 219–72.Google Scholar
Trumbore, S. 2009. Radiocarbon and soil carbon dynamics. Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences 37:4766.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Wang, Y, Amundson, R, Trumbore, S. 1996. Radiocarbon dating of soil organic matter. Quaternary Research 45(3):282–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Wynn, JG, Bird, MI. 2008. Environmental controls on the stable carbon isotopic composition of soil organic carbon: implications for modelling the distribution of C3 and C4 plants, Australia. Tellus B 60(4):604–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Wynn, JG, Harden, JW, Fries, TL. 2006. Stable carbon isotope depth profiles and soil organic carbon dynamics in the lower Mississippi Basin. Geoderma 131(1–2):89109.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Yadava, MG, Ramesh, R. 1999. Speleothems: useful proxies for past monsoon rainfall. Journal of Scientific and Industrial Research 58:339–48.Google Scholar
Zhong, W, Xue, J, Zheng, Y, Ouyang, J, Qiaohong, M, Cai, Y, Tang, X. 2010. Climatic changes since the last deglaciation inferred from a lacustrine sedimentary sequence in the eastern Nanling Mountains, south China. Journal of Quaternary Science 25(6):975–84.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
You have Access
Cited by

Save article to Kindle

To save this article to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Radiocarbon and Stable Carbon Isotopes in Two Soil Profiles from Northeast India
Available formats

Save article to Dropbox

To save this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Radiocarbon and Stable Carbon Isotopes in Two Soil Profiles from Northeast India
Available formats

Save article to Google Drive

To save this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Radiocarbon and Stable Carbon Isotopes in Two Soil Profiles from Northeast India
Available formats

Reply to: Submit a response

Please enter your response.

Your details

Please enter a valid email address.

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *