Formation of mineral‐associated organic matter in temperate soils is primarily controlled by mineral type and modified by land use and management intensity

2023 | journal article. A publication with affiliation to the University of Göttingen.

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​Formation of mineral‐associated organic matter in temperate soils is primarily controlled by mineral type and modified by land use and management intensity​
Bramble, D. S. E.; Ulrich, S.; Schöning, I.; Mikutta, R.; Brandt, L.; Poll, C. & Kandeler, E. et al.​ (2023) 
Global Change Biology, art. e17024​.​ DOI: 

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Bramble, De Shorn E.; Ulrich, Susanne; Schöning, Ingo; Mikutta, Robert; Brandt, Luise; Poll, Christian; Kandeler, Ellen; Mikutta, Christian; Konrad, Alexander; Siemens, Jan; Schrumpf, Marion
Abstract Formation of mineral‐associated organic matter (MAOM) supports the accumulation and stabilization of carbon (C) in soil, and thus, is a key factor in the global C cycle. Little is known about the interplay of mineral type, land use and management intensity in MAOM formation, especially on subdecadal time scales. We exposed mineral containers with goethite or illite, the most abundant iron oxide and phyllosilicate clay in temperate soils, for 5 years in topsoils of 150 forest and 150 grassland sites in three regions across Germany. Results show that irrespective of land use and management intensity, more C accumulated on goethite than illite (on average 0.23 ± 0.10 and 0.06 ± 0.03 mg m −2 mineral surface respectively). Carbon accumulation across regions was consistently higher in coniferous forests than in deciduous forests and grasslands. Structural equation models further showed that thinning and harvesting reduced MAOM formation in forests. Formation of MAOM in grasslands was not affected by grazing. Fertilization had opposite effects on MAOM formation, with the positive effect being mediated by enhanced plant productivity and the negative effect by reduced plant species richness. This highlights the caveat of applying fertilizers as a strategy to increase soil C stocks in temperate grasslands. Overall, we demonstrate that the rate and amount of MAOM formation in soil is primarily driven by mineral type, and can be modulated by land use and management intensity even on subdecadal time scales. Our results suggest that temperate soils dominated by oxides have a higher capacity to accumulate and store C than those dominated by phyllosilicate clays, even under circumneutral pH conditions. Therefore, adopting land use and management practices that increase C inputs into oxide‐rich soils that are under their capacity to store C may offer great potential to enhance near‐term soil C sequestration.
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Global Change Biology 
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft



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