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Dynamics of forest floor and soil organic matter accumulation in boreal, temperate, and tropical forests


Analysis and models of the global carbon budget suggest that soils may play an important role in sequestering carbon in ecosystems. On a global scale, soils contain about twice as much carbon as vegetation (Post et al., 1990) and this carbon is characterized by having the longest residence time compared to the other carbon pools (Anderson, 1991). By discerning which factors may control amounts and rates of soil organic carbon accumulation, management strategies may be developed to enhance the sequestration of carbon in ecosystems. To achieve this goal requires determining which abiotic and biotic factors correlate with the accumulation of carbon in the soil within as well as across climatic zones. Since soil organic matter accumulation is a balance between production and decomposition, an understanding of factors that influence both processes must be obtained if we are going to be able to predict carbon fluxes.

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