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Dependence of mineralization of soil organic matter on temperature and moisture

Soil Biology and Biochemistry
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/s0038-0717(98)00129-1


Abstract It is widely believed that increases in ambient temperature due to global climatic change will decrease the organic matter content of soils and increase the emission of greenhouse gases from them. These effects, which are due to stimulation of the decomposition of fresh and humified organic matter, are predicted to be most pronounced in temperate regions between the 40th and 70th parallels. To investigate the possible implications of this for organic matter mineralization in soils of Galicia (northwest Spain, north of the 40th parallel), in this work samples of O and Ah layers taken at various times of the year (to account for seasonal effects) were subjected to incubation experiments. The results indicate that the effects of soil temperature and moisture content on C- and N-mineralization can be modelled by simple equations, the equation for CO 2 evolved being more reliable than that for N-mineralized. The effects of interactions between soil moisture and temperature on the mineralization of organic matter were also modelled, using multiple regression to fit an equation including a term for their product to the results. The equation for N-mineralized explained 30–40% of the variance in this parameter, while that for CO 2 evolved explained almost 80% of its variance. The latter equation allowed prediction of the effects of climatic change on respiration processes.

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