When the soil warms up, it releases more carbon dioxide (CO2) -- an effect that further fuels climate change. Until now, it had been assumed that the reason for this was mainly due to the presence of small soil animals and microorganisms that would eat and breathe more in warmer temperatures. However, a new study has shown that this is not the case. Quite the contrary: If warmth is accompanied by drought, the soil animals eat even less.
Researchers have invented new systems to study the life of microorganisms in the ground. Without any digging, the researchers are able use microchips to see and analyze an invisible world that is filled with more species than any other ecosystem.
Two young worms are the first offspring in a Mars soil experiment. A biologist found them in a Mars soil simulant that he obtained from NASA. At the start he only added adult worms. The experiments are crucial in the study that aims to determine whether people can keep themselves alive at the red planet by growing their own crops on Mars soils.
Soil plays a critical role in global carbon cycling, in part because soil organic matter stores three times more carbon than the atmosphere. Now scientists have, for the first time, provided evidence that anaerobic microsites play a much larger role in stabilizing carbon in soils than previously thought.
Whether carbon comes from leaves or needles affects how fast it decomposes, but where it ends up determines how long it's available.
A global conversion to organic farming can contribute to a profoundly sustainable food system, provided that it is combined with further measures, specifically with a one-third reduction of animal-based products in the human diet, less concentrated feed and less food waste, shows new research.
Many factors influence the ability of soil to buffer against temperature changes. Recent research shows both perennial biofuel and cover crops help soils shield against extreme temperatures.
New research has demonstrated how composting of biochar creates a very thin organic coating that significantly improves the biochar's fertilizing capabilities.
After 26 years, the world's longest-running experiment to discover how warming temperatures affect forest soils has revealed a surprising, cyclical response: Soil warming stimulates periods of abundant carbon release from the soil to the atmosphere alternating with periods of no detectable loss in soil carbon stores. The study indicates that in a warming world, a self-reinforcing and perhaps uncontrollable carbon feedback will occur between forest soils and the climate system, accelerating global warming.
A new study outlines the mechanisms and points to the importance of both sunlight and the right microbial community as keys to converting permafrost carbon to CO2.
Efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the agriculture and forestry sectors could lead to increased food prices -- but new research identifies strategies that could help mitigate climate change while avoiding steep hikes in food prices.