NU researchers analysed top soil physical and chemical properties in Kazakhstan across a north-south gradient

A team of researchers from Nazarbayev University seasonally sampled topsoil across a 2,000 km north-south gradient in Kazakhstan and analysed the physical and chemical compositions (i.e., organic, inorganic, total carbon and total nitrogen), related vegetation, land cover and climate properties.

This research is in line with the Kyoto Protocol and the Clean Development Mechanism. Although Kazakhstan is the largest land-locked country in the world, field data on soil organic carbon (SOC) that can improve global climate-carbon modelling, often based on remote-sensing data, are scarce.

“Our work paves the way for further environmental modelling studies on Kazakh land and consequently relevant evidence-based policy decision-making in agroecologycal sector”, – mentioned Vadim Yapiev, PhD student at the School of Engineering, Nazarbayev University.

Independent of the season, SOC significantly differed among soil types. The distribution of total nitrogen content among our sampling sites followed a similar pattern as SOC, with significant differences between soil types occurring in northern, central and southern Kazakhstan. The results of the study are published in SCIENTIFIC DATA | 5:180242 | DOI: 10.1038/sdata.2018.242

The co-lead authors of the study are Vadim Yapiev, Christian Schönbach (School of Science and Technology), and Vassilis Inglezakis (School of Engineering). The other authors are Nazarbayev University students and faculty – Charles P Gilman, Tolganay Kabdullayeva, Akmaral Suleimenova, Aizhan Shagadatova, Azat Duisembay, Sanzhar Naizabekov, Saule Mussurova, Kamilya Sydykova, Ilyas Raimkulov, Ilyas Kabimoldayev, Ainagul Abdrakhmanova, Symbat Omarkulova, Dastan Nurmukhambetov, Aliya Kudarova, and Daniyar Malgazhdar.