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Liquid, mycorrhizal carbon not often recognized

Posted by Peter Donovan 15 years, 2 months ago

Christine Jones published an article in the Australian Farm Journal that may help to explain why the assumption is widespread among agricultural scientists that soil carbon cannot be increased quickly. The Roth C model, for example, ignores the role of mycorrhizal soluble carbon, focusing entirely on biomass input for humification:

"When carbon enters the soil ecosystem as plant material (such as crop stubble), it decomposes and returns to the atmosphere as carbon dioxide. Hence the lamentation 'my soil eats mulch', familiar to home gardeners and broadacre croppers alike. While plant residues are important for soil food-web function, reduced evaporative demand and the buffering of soil temperatures, they do not necessarily lead to increased levels of stable soil carbon.

"Conversely, soluble carbon streaming into the soil ecosystem via the cytoplasm of mycorrhizal fungi can be rapidly stabilised by humification and permanently retained in soil, provided appropriate land management systems are in place."

The three individual pages of this article are attached below.