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Title: Most root-derived carbon inputs do not contribute to long-term global soil carbon storage
Contributor(s): Wang, Guocheng (author); Xiao, Liujun (author); Lin, Ziqi (author); Zhang, Qing  (author)orcid ; Guo, Xiaowei (author); Cowie, Annette  (author); Zhang, Shuai (author); Wang, Mingming (author); Chen, Songchao (author); Zhang, Ganlin (author); Shi, Zhou (author); Sun, Wenjuan (author); Luo, Zhongkui (author)
Publication Date: 2023-05
DOI: 10.1007/s11430-022-1031-5
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Plant root-derived carbon (C) inputs (Iroot) are the primary source of C in mineral bulk soil. However, a fraction of Iroot may lose quickly (Iloos, e.g., via rhizosphere microbial respiration, leaching and fauna feeding) without contributing to long-term bulk soil C storage, yet this loss has never been quantified, particularly on a global scale. In this study we integrated three observational global data sets including soil radiocarbon content, allocation of photosynthetically assimilated C, and root biomass distribution in 2,034 soil profiles to quantify Iroot and its contribution to the bulk soil C pool. We show that global average Iroot in the 0–200 cm soil profile is 3.5 Mg ha−1 yr−1, ~80% of which (i.e., Iloos) is lost rather than contributing to long-term bulk soil C storage. Iroot decreases exponentially with soil depth, and the top 20 cm soil contains >60% of total Iroot. Actual C input contributing to long-term bulk soil storage (i.e., IrootIloos) shows a similar depth distribution to Iroot. We also map Iloos and its depth distribution across the globe. Our results demonstrate the global significance of direct C losses which limit the contribution of Iroot to bulk soil C storage; and provide spatially explicit data to facilitate reliable soil C predictions via separating direct C losses from total root-derived C inputs.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Science China. Earth Sciences, 66(5), p. 1072-1086
Publisher: Zhongguo Kexue Zazhishe,Science in China Press
Place of Publication: China
ISSN: 1869-1897
Fields of Research (FoR) 2020: 4101 Climate change impacts and adaptation
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO) 2020: TBD
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
Appears in Collections:Journal Article
School of Environmental and Rural Science

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