Plant-soil-microbial systems

August 13, 2011 – 1:33 pm

Nice writeup by Richard Bardgett on plant-soil-microbial systems:

In fact, some work suggests that as plant growth increases because of elevated CO2, more carbon not only flows into the plants themselves, but also exits their roots to impact the growth and activity of soil microbes. This causes a net increase in CO2 and other greenhouse gases escaping from the soil and entering the atmosphere, thus adding to anthropogenic levels.

This scenario illustrates the complexity of controls on ecoystem carbon exchange and shows how something as simple as CO2 fertilization will not be able to explain the whole story. The rest of the article is great too and worth a read.

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