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Soil Science Society of America Journal Abstract -

Predicting Long-Term Soil Carbon Storage from Short-Term Information


This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 62 No. 4, p. 1000-1005
    Received: Nov 8, 1996

    * Corresponding author(s): riitta.hyvonen@eom.slu.se
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  1. Riitta Hyvönen ,
  2. Göran I. Ågren and
  3. Ernesto Bosatta
  1. Department of Ecology and Environmental Research, Swedish Univ. of Agricultural Sciences, P.O. Box 7072, SE-750 07 Uppsala, Sweden



Changes in land use and in climate may induce changes in soil organic matter storage in different ecosystems. Predictions of future soil organic matter storage are based on extrapolations from short-term observations. Certain errors in the extrapolation procedure will have larger consequences than others. We analyzed this error propagation using the continuous-quality theory. We show that parameter values that predict litter-decomposition rates within 5% for 2 yr can give rise to errors in steady-state soil organic matter stores of a factor of three or more, whereas comparable errors in parameter estimates derived from decomposition studies of whole soil organic matter keep the deviations in soil organic matter within 10%. The processes that have to be quantified most accurately are those regulating the interaction between soil organic matter and soil texture and those regulating the rate of change in the quality of the soil organic matter during decomposition. The error propagation from errors in decomposer growth rate, and hence climatic factors, and litter quality is limited, but that from decomposer efficiency is somewhat higher. We also compared the continuous-quality approach with some other models.

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