Soil organic carbon stocks in native forest of Argentina: a useful surrogate for mitigation and conservation planning under climate variability

This study models soil organic carbon (SOC) stocks in Argentina's native forests and links them to biodiversity concerns amid climate variability. It finds significant SOC variation influenced by regional climate factors, offering insights for forest management and biodiversity resilience efforts within the Kyoto Protocol and REDD+ framework.

The nationally determined contribution (NDC) presented by Argentina within the framework of the Paris Agreement is aligned with the decisions made in the context of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) on the reduction of emissions derived from deforestation and forest degradation, as well as forest carbon conservation (REDD+). In addition, climate change constitutes one of the greatest threats to forest biodiversity and ecosystem services. However, the soil organic carbon (SOC) stocks of native forests have not been incorporated into the Forest Reference Emission Levels calculations and for conservation planning under climate variability due to a lack of information. The objectives of this study were: (i) to model SOC stocks to 30 cm of native forests at a national scale using climatic, topographic and vegetation as predictor variables, and (ii) to relate SOC stocks with spatial–temporal remotely sensed indices to determine biodiversity conservation concerns due to threats from high inter-annual climate variability.

SOC model (0–30 cm depth) prediction accounted for 69% of the variation of this soil property across the whole native forest coverage in Argentina. Total mean SOC stock reached 2.81 Pg C (2.71–2.84 Pg C with a probability of 90%) for a total area of 460,790 km2, where Chaco forests represented 58.4% of total SOC stored, followed by Andean Patagonian forests (16.7%) and Espinal forests (10.0%). SOC stock model was fitted as a function of regional climate, which greatly influenced forest ecosystems, including precipitation (annual mean precipitation and precipitation of warmest quarter) and temperature (day land surface temperature, seasonality, maximum temperature of warmest month, month of maximum temperature, night land surface temperature, and monthly minimum temperature). Biodiversity was influenced by the SOC levels and the forest regions.


In the framework of the Kyoto Protocol and REDD+, information derived in the present work from the estimate of SOC in native forests can be incorporated into the annual National Inventory Report of Argentina to assist forest management proposals. It also gives insight into how native forests can be more resilient to reduce the impact of biodiversity loss.



Peri PL, et al. (38 coauthors, including Gasparri I and Blundo C). 2024. Soil organic carbon stocks in native forest of Argentina: a useful surrogate for mitigation and conservation planning under climate variability. Ecological Processes 13:1.