Aboveground litter inputs determine carbon storage across soil profiles:a meta-analysis

Xu, S. and Sayer, E.J. and Eisenhauer, N. and Lu, X. and Wang, J. and Liu, C. (2021) Aboveground litter inputs determine carbon storage across soil profiles:a meta-analysis. Plant and Soil, 462. pp. 429-444. ISSN 0032-079X

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Aims: Aboveground plant litter inputs are important sources of soil carbon (C). We aimed to establish how experimentally altered litter inputs affect soil C to 1-m depth across different ecosystems, and over different timeframes. Methods: We performed a meta-analysis of 237 studies across 248 sites worldwide to assess the influence of treatment magnitude, treatment duration, initial soil C content, and climate on the response of soil C to altered aboveground litter inputs. Results: Overall, soil C content was lower under litter removal, but higher under litter addition compared to controls. The effects of litter manipulation were apparent throughout the soil profile and were related to treatment magnitude. Soil C content declined markedly with increasing duration of litter removal, whereas the positive effect of litter addition attenuated over time. Cropland management practices (bare fallow or additional straw incorporation) had similar effects on soil C to litter removal and addition treatments. Conclusions: Our study reveals rapid and consistent changes in soil C content with altered litter inputs and provides important insights into plant residue management to enhance soil C sequestration. We highlight the need for long-term experiments, with a greater focus on the processes underpinning soil C storage in different ecosystems.

Item Type:
Journal Article
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Plant and Soil
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The final publication is available at Springer via http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11104-021-04881-5
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05 Mar 2021 14:00
Last Modified:
15 Sep 2023 01:15