Modelling soil anaerobiosis from water retention characteristics and soil respiration

G. Schurgers, P. Dörsch, L. Bakken, P.A. Leffelaar, L. Egil Haugen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Oxygen is a prerequisite for some and an inhibitor to other microbial functions in soils, hence the temporal and spatial distribution of oxygen within the soil matrix is crucial in soil biogeochemistry and soil biology. Various attempts have been made to model the anaerobic fraction of the soil volume as a function of structure, moisture content and oxygen consumption. Aggregate models are attractive but difficult to parameterize and not applicable to non-aggregated soils. Pore models are preferable for pragmatic reasons, but the existing versions appear to overestimate the anaerobic volume at intermediate soil moisture contents. A modified pore model is proposed, in which anaerobiosis is calculated from a range of air filled pore size classes, based on the soil water retention curve and the soil moisture content. In comparison with previous pore models which are based on the estimation of an average size of the air filled pores, the pore class model presented here appears to give more adequate estimates of anaerobic volumes, especially at intermediate moisture contents. The pore model is attractive for process modelling of anaerobic functions such as denitrification, since it can easily be parameterized by the water retention characteristics of a soil
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2637-2644
JournalSoil Biology and Biochemistry
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2006


  • denitrification
  • emissions
  • volume
  • n2o

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