Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Study helps assess impact of temperature on belowground soil decomposition

24.09.2014

The Earth’s soils store four times more carbon than the atmosphere and small changes in soil carbon storage can have a big effect on atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations. A new paper in the journal Nature Climate Change concludes that climate warming does not accelerate soil organic carbon decomposition or affect soil carbon storage, despite increases in ecosystem productivity.

The research, led by U.S. Forest Service Research Ecologist Dr. Christian Giardina, with the agency’s Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry, Pacific Southwest Research Station, with co-authors Drs. Creighton Litton and Susan Crow (University of Hawai`i at Manoa), and Dr. Greg Asner (Carnegie Institution for Science), shows that soil carbon storage was constant across a highly constrained 5 degrees Celsius gradient of mean annual temperature in tropical montane wet forest in Hawai`i.

The scientists also showed an increase in productivity across the gradient, both above and belowground, and an increase in the decomposition rate of fresh litter and a decline in coarse woody debris with warming. From these results, they concluded that long-term warming in tropical montane forests will accelerate carbon cycling, but is unlikely to cause net losses of soil carbon.

“Given our findings, we expect that warming alone, that is in the absence of other changes such as drying or increased fire, will not accelerate the loss of carbon from mineral soils,” says Giardina. “This means that tropical soils will not become a net source of CO2 to the atmosphere.”

The effects of warming on soil carbon storage are poorly quantified because it is difficult to assess how temperature change impacts processes below the soil surface. However, the temperature gradient used in this study provides an ideal study system for measuring ecosystem responses to warming over long periods of time. The scientists were careful to find a gradient of temperature change where potentially confounding factors were held constant, including vegetation composition, disturbance history, geology, and soil type and moisture. This allowed them to isolate the effects of changing temperature on ecosystem carbon storage and flux.

The scientists propose that where ecosystem carbon is unprotected, such as at the surface in plant debris, its decomposition and storage will respond strongly to warming. However, when carbon is protected in the soil, decomposer organisms have reduced access to that carbon and so decomposition or storage show little temperature sensitivity. And while climate warming will continue with the addition of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere due to human activities (fossil fuel combustion, land-use clearing), previous assumptions about a positive soil carbon cycling feedback to future warming may be incorrect.

While soil carbon storage and turnover was insensitive to warming, the decomposition of coarse wood and plant growth did increase, which means that the capacity of tropical ecosystems to retain carbon will depend on the balance of changes within each ecosystem.

To read the paper: http://www.treesearch.fs.fed.us/pubs/46423

Headquartered in Albany, Calif., the Pacific Southwest Research Station develops and communicates science needed to sustain forest ecosystems and other benefits to society. It has research facilities in California, Hawaii and the U.S.–affiliated Pacific Islands. For more information, visit www.fs.fed.us/psw/.

Sherri Eng | Eurek Alert!
Further information:
http://www.fs.fed.us/psw/news/2014/20140923_soil_decomposition.shtml

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product
02.12.2016 | Purdue University

nachricht New findings about the deformed wing virus, a major factor in honey bee colony mortality
11.11.2016 | Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

NTU scientists build new ultrasound device using 3-D printing technology

07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

The balancing act: An enzyme that links endocytosis to membrane recycling

07.12.2016 | Life Sciences

How to turn white fat brown

07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>