Using water erosion data from three national soil erosion remote—sensing surveys (the first: 1985–1986; the second: 1995–1996; the third: 2000–2001) and carbon density data from the second national soil survey (1979–1992), we computed soil carbon removal caused by water erosion, and analyzed its spatial distribution and temporal dynamics in China. Results revealed that the total removal of soil carbon caused by water erosion was about 74.61 Tg C y-1, of which 51.49 Tg C y-1 was organic carbon, and 23.12 Tg C y-1 was inorganic carbon. The main erosion level of the whole is moderate erosion. Among the seven erosion regions, the Southwest Karst Region had the most significant removal of soil organic carbon, which was 26.48% of the total and mainly due to its moderate erosion. In contrast, about 67.62% of the soil inorganic carbon removal occurred in the Loess Plateau Region, which mainly due to its highly intense and intense erosion. As a whole, the removals of soil carbon caused by water erosion represented a decreasing trend among the three national soil erosion remote—sensing surveys. Between the first and the second survey, soil carbon removal decreased by 11.66 Tg C y-1 of which 81.93% was organic carbon. Compared with that in the second survey, soil carbon removal decreased by 1.65 Tg C y-1 in the third survey, of which 1.514 Tg C y-1 was organic carbon, and 0.134 Tg C y-1 was inorganic carbon.
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