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Re-thinking the conservation of carbon, water and soil: a different perspective

Abstract : Sustaining soil productivity requires continuing actions of soil organisms on organic materials for optimizing of soil porosity and of movements of roots, water and gases in the root-zone. Soil is more quickly formed and self-renewed from the top downwards than only by slow additions from the bottom upwards. Loss of porosity diminishes soil's infiltration capacity and water-holding potential. Factors that provide insufficient organic substrates for soil organisms and that unduly accelerate oxidation of soil organic matter hinder the self-recuperation of soil and facilitate 'Stage-1' loss of carbon from within soil aggregates. They predispose the soil to lose rapidly even more carbon, in particulate form, through 'Stage-2' losses during consequent processes of runoff and erosion. Forms of land use and management are advocated that favor the functioning of soil-inhabiting organisms, including plants, such that carbon's capture in photosynthesis is increased, its usefulness in the soil as a rooting medium is prolonged, and its subsequent immobilization in the process of sequestration ameliorates the rate of increase in carbon dioxide concentration in the global atmosphere.
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Submitted on : Sunday, January 1, 2006 - 10:00:00 AM
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  • HAL Id : hal-00886258, version 1


Thomas Francis Shaxson. Re-thinking the conservation of carbon, water and soil: a different perspective. Agronomy for Sustainable Development, Springer Verlag/EDP Sciences/INRA, 2006, 26 (1), pp.9-19. ⟨hal-00886258⟩



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