Understanding how spatial scale influences commonly-observed effects of climate and soil texture on soil organic carbon (SOC) storage is important for accurately estimating the SOC pool at different scales. The relationships among climate factors, soil texture and SOC density at the regional, provincial, city, and county scales were evaluated at both the soil surface (0-20 cm) and throughout the soil profile (0-100 cm) in the Northeast China uplands. We examined 1 022 profiles obtained from the Second National Soil Survey of China. The results indicated that the relationships between climate factors and SOC density generally weakened with decreasing spatial scale. The provincial scale was optimal to assess the relationship between climate factors and SOC density because regional differences among provinces were covered up at the regional scale. However, the relationship between soil texture and SOC density had no obvious trend with increasing scale and changed with temperature. There were great differences in the impacts of climate factors and soil texture on SOC density at different scales. Climate factors had a larger effect on SOC density than soil texture at the regional scale. Similar trends were seen in Heilongjiang and eastern Inner Mongolia at the provincial scale. But, soil texture had a greater effect on SOC density compared with climate factors in Jilin and Liaoning. At the city and county scales, the influence of soil texture on SOC density was more important than climate factors.
- spatial scale