A nine-year experiment by a University of California Merced professor and his colleagues is illuminating the importance of soil carbon in maintaining healthy and functioning ecosystems because of its influence on the microbial communities that live in soil.
These communities’ health can help researchers understand the effects of climate change.
The paper shows that reducing the carbon plants input into soil drastically affects microbial life. That can lead to many downstream consequences, including the leaching of nitrogen and other nutrients from the soil — where they are beneficial — to aquatic ecosystems — where they are harmful. Carbon reductions are often the result of “disturbance events” such as wildfires and deforestation.
— UC Merced Newsroom