Integrating biological and chemical soil processes towards predicting the climate-carbon feedback at the European scale

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingAbstract


Soils represent the largest terrestrial organic carbon stock , storing nearly two times as much carbon (C) as the atmosphere in the top one meter. Under the influence of climate warming, soil organic matter (SOM) decomposition may be stimulated, accelerating the release of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. Numerous studies have suggested that this will lead to a positive feedback to climate change, as higher temperatures are expected to accelerate C losses through SOM decomposition more than photosynthetic C inputs. Yet, the temperature response of SOM decomposition is still widely debated. Here, we test the hypothesis that separating SOM into particulate organic matter (POM) and mineral associated organic matter (MAOM) can be used to explain the temperature response of SOM decomposition across Europe. We used a European-wide database to identify and collect a large range of samples with varying ratios of POM and MAOM. A total of 132 soil samples were incubated for approximately four hours in a temperature gradient block consisting of 22 discrete temperatures ranging from 4 to 60°C, after which soil respiration rates were measured. We developed and tested an equation based on a combination of Arrhenius and macromolecular rate theories to account for the divergent responses of POM and MAOM to temperature. Preliminary results provide insights on the contributions of POM and MAOM to defining the temperature response of SOM decomposition, and lay the ground for an integration of biological and chemical processes in models predicting the soil carbon-climate feedback.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2023 Book of Abstracts: Wageningen Soil Conference
Subtitle of host publicationWorking together on solutions for a sustainable world
Place of PublicationWageningen
PublisherWageningen University & Research
Publication statusPublished - 2023
EventWageningen Soil Conference 2023 - Wageningen
Duration: 28 Aug 20231 Sept 2023


ConferenceWageningen Soil Conference 2023
Internet address


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