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Persistence of soil organic matter as an ecosystem property


Schmidt, M W I; Torn, M S; Abiven, S; Dittmar, T; Guggenberger, G; Janssens, I A; Kleber, M; Kögel-Knabner, I; Lehmann, J; Manning, D A C; Nannipieri, P; Rasse, D P; Weiner, S; Trumbore, S E (2011). Persistence of soil organic matter as an ecosystem property. Nature, 478(7367):49-56.

Abstract

Globally, soil organic matter (SOM) contains more than three times as much carbon as either the atmosphere or terrestrial vegetation. Yet it remains largely unknown why some SOM persists for millennia whereas other SOM decomposes readily—and this limits our ability to predict how soils will respond to climate change. Recent analytical and experimental advances have demonstrated that molecular structure alone does not control SOM stability: in fact, environmental and biological controls predominate. Here we propose ways to include this understanding in a new generation of experiments and soil carbon models, thereby improving predictions of the SOM response to global warming.

Globally, soil organic matter (SOM) contains more than three times as much carbon as either the atmosphere or terrestrial vegetation. Yet it remains largely unknown why some SOM persists for millennia whereas other SOM decomposes readily—and this limits our ability to predict how soils will respond to climate change. Recent analytical and experimental advances have demonstrated that molecular structure alone does not control SOM stability: in fact, environmental and biological controls predominate. Here we propose ways to include this understanding in a new generation of experiments and soil carbon models, thereby improving predictions of the SOM response to global warming.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
Dewey Decimal Classification:910 Geography & travel
Language:English
Date:2011
Deposited On:25 Nov 2011 09:47
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 15:07
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group
ISSN:0028-0836
Publisher DOI:10.1038/nature10386
Permanent URL: http://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-51257

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