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Biogeosciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-2020-49
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-2020-49
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  19 Feb 2020

19 Feb 2020

Review status
A revised version of this preprint was accepted for the journal BG and is expected to appear here in due course.

Reviews and syntheses: The mechanisms underlying carbon storage in soil

Isabelle Basile-Doelsch1, Jérôme Balesdent1, and Sylvain Pellerin2 Isabelle Basile-Doelsch et al.
  • 1Aix Marseille Univ, CNRS, IRD, INRA, Coll France, CEREGE, Aix-en-Provence, France
  • 2INRA, Bordeaux Sciences Agro, Univ. Bordeaux, 33882, Villenave d'Ornon, France

Abstract. Scientific research in the 21st century has considerably improved our knowledge of soil organic matter and its dynamics, particularly under the pressure of the global disruption of the carbon cycle. This paper reviews the processes that control C dynamics in soil, the representation of these processes over time, and their dependence on variations in major biotic and abiotic factors. The most recent advances in soil organic matter knowledge are:

– Most organic matter is composed of small molecules, derived from living organisms, without transformation via additional abiotic organic polymerization.

– Microbial compounds are predominant in the long term.

– Primary belowground production contributes more to organic matter than aboveground inputs.

– Contribution of less biodegradable compounds to soil organic matter is low in the long term.

– Two major factors determine the soil organic carbon production yield from the initial substrates: the yield of carbon used by microorganisms and the association with minerals, particularly poorly crystallized minerals, which stabilize microbial compounds.

– Interactions between plants and microorganisms and between microbial communities affect or even regulate carbon residence times, and therefore carbon stocks.

Farming practices therefore affect soil C stocks not only through carbon inputs but also via their effect on microbial and organomineral interactions.

Isabelle Basile-Doelsch et al.

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Isabelle Basile-Doelsch et al.

Isabelle Basile-Doelsch et al.

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Latest update: 18 Sep 2020
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Short summary
The 4 per 1000 initiative aims to restore carbon storage in soils to both mitigate climate change and contribute to food security. The French National Institute for Agricultural Research conducted a study to determine the carbon storage potential in French soils and associated cost. This paper is a part of this study. It reviews recent advances concerning the mechanisms that control C stabilization in soils. Synthetic figures integrating new concepts should be of pedagogical interest.
The 4 per 1000 initiative aims to restore carbon storage in soils to both mitigate climate...
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