Changes in soil carbon, the largest terrestrial carbon pool, are critical for the global carbon cycle, atmospheric CO2 levels and climate. Soil carbon depends on productivity of vegetation and decomposition of organic material in soil, both climate dependent processes subject to change in response to climate change.
Current predictions on changes in decomposition of soil carbon assume all soil carbon to be equally sensitive to climate. The release of carbon from soils under climate change may be substantially overestimated, because the climatic dependence of decomposition may differ between young and old soil carbon. Moreover, knowledge about climatic effects on the decomposition are based on only a few experimental data. Yet a wealth of data has been recently collected that could be used to calibrate and test soil models.
The objectives of this project were to 1) quantify the effects of climate on decomposition of young soil carbon, 2) quantify these effects for older soil carbon, and 3) predict changes in soil carbon in temperate and boreal forests in response to climate change.
Publication related to this project is available in the Dissertationes Forestales series:
Palosuo, Taru 2008. Soil carbon modelling as a tool for carbon balance studies in forestry. University of Helsinki, Department of Forest Ecology. Dissertationes Forestales 61.