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Policy support tool


Aim of the resource

RothC was originally developed and parameterized to model the turnover of organic carbon in arable topsoil from the Rothamsted long-term field experiments - hence the name. Later, it was extended to model turnover in grassland and in woodland and to operate in different soils and under different climates. It has now been widely tested and used at the plot, field, regional and global scales using data from many long-term experiments, different regions, and counties throughout the world.

RothC is designed to run in two modes: ‘forward’ in which known inputs are used to calculate changes in soil organic matter and ‘inverse’ when inputs are calculated from known changes in soil organic matter.

Recent developments include a version for volcanic soils, dry soils, and carbon in the subsoil version (RothPC).

Using the resource
Potential benefits from using the resource
Widely used
Potential limitations from using the resource
The erosion and hydrological flux associated with soil organic matter movement requires coupling to multiple hydrological and erosion models
Lack of field validation and uncertainty in model parameters are major barriers in their applicability to areas where local databases are very scarce.
Practical information
UN languages in which the resource is available:
Contact details
Dr. Roland Baatz, Coordinator International Soil Modelling Consortium
Is the resource freely available?
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The Rothamsted carbon model (RothC) is a model to assess soil matter turnover, which can indirectly indicate the state of degradation. It is a point-scale model and can be extrapolated to large spatial extents using remote sensing and GIS approaches. RothC is a model for the turnover of organic carbon in topsoil that allows for the effects of soil type, temperature, soil moisture and plant cover.


Subregions covered