Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 436213
Title Soil processes and functions across an international network of critical zone observations: introduction to experimental methods and initial results
Author(s) Banwart, S.; Menon, M.; Bernasconi, S.M.; Bloem, J.; Ruiter, P.C. de; Weng, L.P.
Source Comptes Rendus Geoscience 344 (2012). - ISSN 1631-0713 - p. 758 - 772.
DOI https://doi.org/10.1016/j.crte.2012.10.007
Department(s) Alterra - Animal ecology
Biometris (WU MAT)
Land Dynamics
Chair Soil Chemistry and Chemical Soil Quality
PE&RC
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2012
Keyword(s) ecosystem services - physical quality - organic-matter - damma glacier - switzerland - climate
Abstract Growth in human population and demand for wealth creates ever-increasing pressure on global soils, leading to soil losses and degradation worldwide. Critical Zone science studies the impact linkages between these pressures, the resulting environmental state of soils, and potential interventions to protect soil and reverse degradation. New research on soil processes is being driven by the scientific hypothesis that soil processes can be described along a life cycle of soil development. This begins with formation of new soil from parent material, development of the soil profile, and potential loss of the developed soil functions and the soil itself under overly intensive anthropogenic land use, thus closing the cycle. Four Critical Zone Observatories in Europe have been selected focusing research at sites that represent key stages along the hypothetical soil life cycle; incipient soil formation, productive use of soil for farming and forestry, and decline of soil due to longstanding intensive agriculture. Initial results from the research show that soil develops important biogeochemical properties on the time scale of decades and that soil carbon and the development of favourable soil structure takes place over similar time scales. A new mathematical model of soil aggregate formation and degradation predicts that set-aside land at the most degraded site studied can develop substantially improved soil structure with the accumulation of soil carbon over a period of several years. Further results demonstrate the rapid dynamics of soil carbon; how quickly it can be lost, and also demonstrate how data from the CZOs can be used to determine parameter values for models at catchment scale. A structure for a new integrated Critical Zone model is proposed that combines process descriptions of carbon and nutrient flows, a simplified description of the soil food web, and reactive transport; all coupled with a dynamic model for soil structure and soil aggregation. This approach is proposed as a methodology to analyse data along the soil life cycle and test how soil processes and rates vary within, and between, the CZOs representing different life cycle stages. In addition, frameworks are discussed that will help to communicate the results of this science into a more policy relevant format using ecosystem service approaches.
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