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Soil Ecology and Ecosystem Services$
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Diana H. Wall, Richard D. Bardgett, Valerie Behan-Pelletier, Jeffrey E. Herrick, T. Hefin Jones, Karl Ritz, Johan Six, Donald R. Strong, and Wim H. van der Putten

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199575923

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199575923.001.0001

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Climate Change and Soil Biotic Carbon Cycling

Climate Change and Soil Biotic Carbon Cycling

Chapter:
(p.241) Chapter 4.1 Climate Change and Soil Biotic Carbon Cycling
Source:
Soil Ecology and Ecosystem Services
Author(s):

Nicholas J. Ostle

Susan E. Ward

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199575923.003.0021

This chapter examines the effects of climate change on soil processes crucial to the plant-soil-atmosphere carbon cycle, carbon storage, and the production and consumption of greenhouse gases (CO2, CH4, N2O). It focuses on the role of the soil biotic community as a whole, including soil microbes and mesofauna, and how soil biota interact with plants to influence carbon cycling processes. The chapter examines evidence for both direct and indirect effects of climate change on plant–soil interactions and soil biotic carbon cycling. Direct climate change effects include temperature, soil water status, and changes in permafrost, all of which have the potential to alter the activity and composition of soil biota. Indirect climate change effects on soil biotic communities are those arising through differences in plant productivity, with associated changes in atmospheric CO2 concentrations. Additionally, changes in plant community structure and diversity influence the quality and quantity of organic matter entering the soil as litter or root exudates. Climate change also has the potential to affect plant–soil interactions indirectly through differences in plant phenology and seasonality. The potential for using mathematical models to predict future soil biological responses to climate change, and climate feedbacks from atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations, are discussed. Finally, gaps in knowledge that need to be considered to increase understanding of the role and resilience of soil biotic carbon cycling for the provision of essential ecosystem services are identified.

Keywords:   climate change, soil biota, plant–soil interactions, soil carbon, greenhouse gases, carbon modelling

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