Soil organic carbon contents and depths of Ap horizons (i.e., cultivated topsoil) from Ontario soil survey reports were reviewed, analyzed, and compared from 1950 to 2019. Organic carbon concentrations have declined from 2.85% to 2.34% in Ap horizons, whereas depths have increased by 40%. Considering the entire Ap horizon depth, we show that soil carbon stocks (kg C·ha−1) may be constant or increasing. Losses of organic carbon due to cultivation should not be discounted; however, dilution of organic carbon within a deeper plow layer may contribute significantly to observed decreases in organic carbon concentrations in topsoil.
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Vol. 101 • No. 2