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Persistence of soil organic matter as an ecosystem property

Lookup NU author(s): Professor David Manning

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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.


Publication metadata

Author(s): Schmidt MWI, Torn MS, Abiven S, Dittmar T, Guggenberger G, Janssens IA, Kleber M, Kogel-Knabner I, Lehmann J, Manning DAC, Nannipieri P, Rasse DP, Weiner S, Trumbore SE

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Nature

Year: 2011

Volume: 478

Issue: 7367

Pages: 49-56

Print publication date: 05/10/2011

ISSN (print): 0028-0836

ISSN (electronic): 1476-4687

Publisher: Nature Publishing Group

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature10386

DOI: 10.1038/nature10386


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