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  • Climate Change
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  • 1
    Language: English
    In: Journal of Soil and Water Conservation, Nov-Dec, 2007, Vol.62(6), p.139A(5)
    Description: Role of soil in causing global warming is discussed. Soils are major players in the carbon cycle. Soils contain the equivalent of about 300 times the amount of carbon now released annually through the burning of fossil fuels. In many soils, carbon stocks contain large amounts of nitrogen, whose metabolism by microorganisms can also contribute to greenhouse gas emissions. It is shown that small changes of the amount of carbon contained in soils may lead to sources or sinks of greenhouse gases. Increased release of carbon by world soils can drastically exacerbate atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO sub(2)) levels, leading to accelerated global warming and to a positive feedback mechanism that may cause climate change to get completely out of hand.
    Keywords: Air Pollution -- Social Aspects ; Air Pollution -- Control ; Global Warming -- Influence ; Soil Ecology -- Research ; Soil Chemistry -- Research
    ISSN: 0022-4561
    E-ISSN: 19413300
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  • 2
    Language: English
    In: Ecological Modelling, 2011, Vol.222(12), pp.1998-2010
    Description: ► The individual-based INDISIM-SOM model is far more sensitive to some parameters than to others. ► Key parameters for the evolution of C and N are microbial maintenance, energy, and death probability. ► The nitrification rate, in particular, appears highly affected by the death probability. ► The sensitivity analysis indicates what simplification of the model is possible. ► It also shows which parameters need to be evaluated with more accuracy than is currently achievable. The fate of soil carbon and nitrogen compounds in soils in response to climate change is currently the object of significant research. In particular, there is much interest in the development of a new generation of micro-scale models of soil ecosystems processes. Crucial to the elaboration of such models is the ability to describe the growth and metabolism of small numbers of individual microorganisms, distributed in a highly heterogeneous environment. In this context, the key objective of the research described in this article was to further develop an individual-based soil organic matter model, INDISIM-SOM, first proposed a few years ago, and to assess its performance with a broader experimental data set than previously considered. INDISIM-SOM models the dynamics and evolution of carbon and nitrogen associated with organic matter in soils. The model involves a number of state variables and parameters related to soil organic matter and microbial activity, including growth and decay of microbial biomass, temporal evolutions of easily hydrolysable N, mineral N in ammonium and nitrate, CO and O . The present article concentrates on the biotic components of the model. Simulation results demonstrate that the model can be calibrated to provide good fit to experimental data from laboratory incubation experiments performed on three different types of Mediterranean soils. In addition, analysis of the sensitivity toward its biotic parameters shows that the model is far more sensitive to some parameters, i.e., the microbial maintenance energy and the probability of random microbial death, than to others. These results suggest that, in the future, research should focus on securing better measurements of these parameters, on environmental determinants of the switch from active to dormant states, and on the causes of random cell death in soil ecosystems.
    Keywords: Individual-Based Model ; Soil Microbial Activity ; Soil Organic Matter ; C and N Mineralization ; Microbial Parameters ; Environmental Sciences ; Ecology
    ISSN: 0304-3800
    E-ISSN: 1872-7026
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  • 3
    Language: English
    In: Frontiers in Environmental Science, 01 February 2015, Vol.3
    Description: Current estimates of global soil C are slightly over 4000 Pg C, which is more than five and a half times the amount of carbon currently in the atmosphere or, put differently, is equivalent to about 400 times the amount of C released yearly to the atmosphere by fossil fuel consumption or cement manufacture...
    Keywords: Food Security ; Global Climate Change ; Microorganisms ; Soil Structure ; Soil Organic Matter ; Soil Science Research ; Environmental Sciences
    E-ISSN: 2296-665X
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  • 4
    Language: English
    In: Frontiers in Environmental Science, 01 November 2018, Vol.6
    Description: Climate change and variability in years to come should in principle affect agroecosystems worldwide due to impacts on plant growth and yield by elevated atmospheric CO2 concentration, higher temperatures, altered precipitation regimes, and increased frequency of extreme events, as well as modified weed, pest, and pathogen pressure (Altieri et al., 2015). In addition, because the diversity of agricultural systems has been reduced to maximize mono-crop yields under favorable conditions, it is possible that these systems will lack resilience when faced with changing climate (Isbell, 2015). These future prospects have prompted a new conscience about environmentally friendly agroecosystems, and policies are being actively promoted, which aim to prohibit or at least limit pesticide use, as well as promote the adoption of best management practices (Lamichhane et al., 2016). Furthermore, consumers tend to shift to healthy products, away, sometimes, from less healthy ones resulting from industrialized agriculture (Sogari et al., 2016). In this context, researchers have endeavored to find and establish the best options that farmers could adopt to preserve natural resources such as soil and water while maintaining the yields and economic benefits of traditional practices (Fleming and Vanclay, 2010; Iglesias and Garrote, 2015; van der Laan et al., 2017). In this general context, this Research Topic aims to present recent scientific progress concerning agricultural practices that allow agroecosystems to cope with the new challenges imposed by global change. The Research Topic comprises 11 articles, including 6 Original Research articles, 2 Reviews, 2 Perspective articles, and 1 Method article. No doubt there are many more issues that could fit under the very broad scope of the Research Topic, but the articles gathered already cover a sizeable range of subjects, from novel agricultural practices to biodiversity, crop performance, and soil properties.Soil is a non-renewable resource that deserves special attention in the context of sustainable agriculture under climate change. In this Research Topic, two articles focus on this important resource. Gao et al. study the effects that afforestation may have on soil inorganic carbon (SIC) sequestration in Northwest China. This form of carbon is the dominant one in arid and semiarid areas; therefore, a subtle fluctuation of SIC pool can alter the regional carbon budget. These authors found that the SIC pool increased after afforestation for 30 years, doubling the SIC amount observed in sandy soils, indicating the high potential of afforestation for sequestering carbon. In addition, Bhat et al. compare the soil biological activity, focusing on phosphorus availability for crops, under long-term organic management versus conventional agriculture in central India. They reported that organic systems possessed equal capabilities of supplying phosphorus for crop growth as conventional systems due to a higher biological activity.An interesting perspective article by Nair et al. highlights the potentialities and limitations that biochar application has for sustainable agriculture. Over the last decade, many authors have promoted the idea that applying biochar or agrichar to soils presents a number of possible benefits, among which are the reduction of bulk density, enhancement of water-holding capacity, and stabilization of organic matter. Nevertheless, the merits of biochar remain extremely controversial (e.g., Sanchez-Garcia et al., 2014; Baveye et al., 2018). In that respect, Nair et al. point out that several problems and bottlenecks remain to be addressed before one could consider widespread production and use of biochar. The current state of knowledge is based largely on limited small-scale studies under laboratory and greenhouse conditions. Properties of biochar vary with both the feedstock from which it is produced and the method of production. The availability of feedstock as well as the economic merits, energy needs, and potential environmental risks of its large-scale production and use remain to be investigated. Nevertheless, Nair et al. argue in favor of the viewpoint that biochar could play a significant role in facing the challenges posed by climate change and threats to agroecosystem sustainability.The reduction of diversity in agroecosystems in a climate change context is the subject of three articles within this Research Topic. First, Nair highlights the virtues of multi-strata tree + crop (MTC) systems. These systems are based on niche complementarity among species. This implies that MTC systems are structurally and functionally more complex than crop or tree monocultures, resulting in greater efficiency for capturing and using resources (light, water, nutrients). Ecosystem services, future scenarios and directions of MTC systems are clearly described in this thought-provoking article. Second, Shelef et al. review the value of native plants and local production as a means to promote food diversity and agricultural resilience. These authors used the example of producing pine nuts in the Western United States to illustrate their proposal to support local food production in an ecologically sustainable manner. Third, Chedraoui et al. review in detail the literature devoted to Capparis spinosa (L.), a xerophilous species with a broad range of benefits and potentialities for agriculture in Eastern Mediterranean countries. This review provides information about the origin, distribution, taxonomy, genetics, cultivation, phytochemical composition of this species, as well as some of its traditional uses. Along this line of preserving biodiversity, Arheimer et al. are concerned with the decrease of snowy periods in northern Europe, which could lead to diversity losses in riparian mixed forests that are flooded during some periods of the year. These authors propose, through a modelling approach, to use artificial floods to preserve diversity in these ecosystems; however, several factors, both technical and economic, restrict the practical implementation of this proposal.Crop performance under different conditions has been addressed in two articles within this Research Topic. First, Li et al. are interested in assessing the extent of soybean nitrogen fixation under elevated CO2 conditions, since these could limit crop performance due to nitrogen limitations. These conditions increase the ability of plants to take up nitrogen by facilitating root proliferation and nodule growth. Second, the use of marginal lands for growing sorghum for bioethanol production is the subject of the article by Tang et al. They conclude that energy sorghum grown on marginal lands has a very low potential for ethanol production and, therefore, offers a lower possibility for commercial feedstock supply when compared to that grown on regular croplands. However, screening suitable varieties may improve the growth of sorghum and its chemical properties for ethanol production on marginal lands.From an economic perspective, Riar et al. present a diagnosis of biophysical and socio-economic factors influencing the choice to adopt organic or conventional systems for cotton production. Organic farmers are motivated by the sustainability of cotton production and growing food without pesticides, whereas conventional farmers are sensitive to their reputation in the community.Finally, in an interesting methodological article, Kundel et al. explain the design and the advantages of a new model of rainout-shelters for climate change experiments in agroecosystems. These devices prove able to sustain heavy weather and could be used in agricultural fields where management operations require the removal of the rainout-shelters. Moreover, they prevent common artifacts occurring when using other devices.Clearly, the 11 articles composing this Research Topic only begin to scratch the surface of a very broad area of research (as noted by the absence of articles devoted to soil organic carbon), which will undoubtedly become the focus of increasing attention, as time goes by and the effects of global climate change on agroecosystems become more pronounced and noticeable. In this context, it is our hope that this Research Topic will contribute in some measure to fostering a healthy debate on whither the research should be heading in years to come.
    Keywords: Agroecology ; Best Management Practices ; Biotic and Abiotic Stresses ; Environmental Sustainability ; Native Plants ; Environmental Sciences
    E-ISSN: 2296-665X
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  • 5
    Language: English
    In: Soil Science Society of America journal, 2011, Vol.75(6), pp.2037-2048
    Description: When the Soil Science Society of America was created, 75 yr ago, the USA was suffering from major dust storms, causing the loss of enormous amounts of topsoil as well as human lives. These catastrophic events reminded public officials that soils are essential to society's well-being. The Soil Conservation Service was founded and farmers were encouraged to implement erosion mitigation practices. Still, many questions about soil processes remained poorly understood and controversial. In this article, we argue that the current status of soils worldwide parallels that in the USA at the beginning of the 20th century. Dust bowls and large-scale soil degradation occur over vast regions in a number of countries. Perhaps more so even than in the past, soils currently have the potential to affect populations critically in several other ways as well, from their effect on global climate change, to the toxicity of brownfield soils in urban settings. Even though our collective understanding of soil processes has experienced significant advances since 1936, many basic questions still remain unanswered, for example whether or not a switch to no-till agriculture promotes C sequestration in soils, or how to account for microscale heterogeneity in the modeling of soil organic matter transformation. Given the enormity of the challenges raised by our (ab)uses of soils, one may consider that if we do not address them rapidly, and in the process heed the example of U.S. public officials in the 1930s who took swift action, humanity may not get a chance to explore other frontiers of science in the future. From this perspective, insistence on the fact that soils are critical to life on earth, and indeed to the survival of humans, may again stimulate interest in soils among the public, generate support for soil research, and attract new generations of students to study soils. ; p. 2037-2048.
    Keywords: Dust Storms ; Students ; Carbon Sequestration ; Topsoil ; Urban Soils ; Society ; No-Tillage ; Soil Organic Matter ; Humans ; Climate Change ; Models ; Farmers ; Soil Degradation ; Toxicity ; Soil Conservation
    ISSN: 0361-5995
    E-ISSN: 14350661
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  • 6
    Language: English
    In: Water, Air, & Soil Pollution, 2010, Vol.209(1), pp.377-390
    Description: Near-infrared diffuse reflectance sensing (NIRS) of soils has been the object of considerable interest and research in the last few years. This has been motivated by the prospect that this method seems to provide a cheap, convenient alternative to conventional, time-consuming methods for the measurement of a wide range of soil parameters. In particular, various authors have advocated that NIRS could be used to measure rapidly and non-destructively the concentration of trace metals in surface soils. Correlation analyses between NIRS spectra and trace metal concentration have yielded inconclusive results to date, suggesting that trace metal concentration may belong to a class of “tertiary” soil parameters, linked to NIRS spectra through “surrogate”, or indirect, correlations, involving some other primary or secondary parameter like clay or organic matter content, to which NIRS spectra are very sensitive. To assess the validity of this surrogate correlation hypothesis in the case of trace metals, experiments were carried out with soil samples varying only in the amount of trace metals they contain. Field-aged Hudson and Arkport soil pots spiked with Cu and Zn, freshly spiked samples of the same soils, and samples of a metalliferous peat soil from Western New York naturally rich in Cd and Zn were subjected to NIRS under laboratory conditions. Detailed analysis indicates that the NIR spectrum is sensitive to sample handling, including the orientation of the samples in the NIRS instrument, but that, at the same time, there is no discernable effect of the presence of trace metals on any part of the NIR spectrum. These results provide strong experimental support to the hypothesis of “surrogate” correlation for trace metals, and indicate that trace metals, even in severely contaminated soils, should not interfere with the NIR sensing of primary or secondary parameters, like organic matter content. Further work is needed to determine if this feature of NIR spectra extends to other soil chemical parameters.
    Keywords: Soil metal contamination ; Chemical analysis ; Near-infrared spectroscopy ; Remote sensing
    ISSN: 0049-6979
    E-ISSN: 1573-2932
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  • 7
    In: Soil Science, 2010, Vol.175(8), pp.363-374
    Description: The need to predict with reasonable accuracy the fate of soil C and N compounds in soils in response to climate change is stimulating interest in a new generation of microscale models of soil ecosystem processes. Essential to the development of such models is the ability to describe the growth and metabolism of small numbers of individual microorganisms. In this context, the key objective of the research described in this article was to further develop an individual-based soil organic matter (SOM) model, INDISIM-SOM, first proposed a few years ago, and to assess its performance with a broader data set than previously considered. The INDISIM-SOM models the dynamics and evolution of C and N associated with organic matter in soils. The model involves a number of state variables and parameters related to SOM and microbial activity, including growth and decay of microbial biomass, temporal evolution of mineralized intermediate C and N, mineral N in ammonium and nitrate, carbon dioxide, and O2. Simulation results demonstrate good fit of the model to experimental data from laboratory incubation experiments performed on three different types of Mediterranean soils. A second objective was to determine the sensitivity of the model toward its various parameters. Sensitivity was small for several of the parameters, suggesting possible simplifications of the model for specific uses, but was significant particularly for the parameter associated with the fraction of the soil C present in the biomass. These results suggest that research should be focused on improving the measurement of this latter parameter.
    Keywords: Microorganisms ; Metabolism ; Climate Change ; Soil Microorganisms ; Soil Testing ; Evolution ; Simulation ; Biomass ; Carbon ; Nitrogen;
    ISSN: 0038-075X
    E-ISSN: 15389243
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  • 8
    Language: English
    In: Frontiers in Environmental Science, 01 July 2018, Vol.6
    Description: In spite of the very significant role that fungi are called to play in agricultural production and climate change over the next two decades, very little is known at this point about the parameters that control the spread of fungal hyphae in the pore space of soils. Monitoring of this process in 3 dimensions is not technically feasible at the moment. The use of transparent micromodels simulating the internal geometry of real soils affords an opportunity to approach the problem in 2 dimensions, provided it is confirmed that fungi would actually want to propagate in such artificial systems. In this context, the key objectives of the research described in this article are to ascertain, first, that the fungus Rhizoctonia solani can indeed grow in a micromodel of a sandy loam soil, and, second, to identify and analyze in detail the pattern by which it spreads in the tortuous pores of the micromodel. Experimental observations show that hyphae penetrate easily inside the micromodel, where they bend frequently to adapt to the confinement to which they are subjected, and branch at irregular intervals, unlike in current computer models of the growth of hyphae, which tend to describe them as series of straight tubular segments. A portion of the time, hyphae in the micromodels also exhibit thigmotropism, i.e., tend to follow solid surfaces closely. Sub-apical branching, which in unconfined situations seems to be controlled by the fungus, appears to be closely connected with the bending of the hyphae, resulting from their interactions with surfaces. These different observations not only indicate different directions to follow to modify current mesoscopic models of fungal growth, so they can apply to soils, but they also suggest a wealth of further experiments using the same set-up, involving for example competing fungal hyphae, or the coexistence of fungi and bacteria in the same pore space.
    Keywords: Hyphae ; Spread ; Microfluidics ; Fungal Highway ; Microscale ; Environmental Sciences
    E-ISSN: 2296-665X
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  • 9
    Language: English
    In: NATO Science for Peace and Security Series C: Environmental Security, Uncertainties in Environmental Modelling and Consequences for Policy Making, pp.61-76
    Description: This chapter discusses some of the principles behind multi-agent modeling and shows through the examples from land-use change how they can be applied to deal with socio-economic aspects of environmental issues. An underlying theme is the divide between qualitative and quantitative approaches in the social sciences, though the chapter is also aimed at presenting agent-based modeling to those accustomed to mathematical modeling approaches.
    Keywords: Environment ; Math. Appl. in Environmental Science ; Environmental Law/Policy/Ecojustice ; Environmental Management ; Climate Change ; Soil Science & Conservation ; Engineering ; Environmental Sciences
    ISBN: 9789048126354
    ISBN: 9048126355
    Source: SpringerLink Books
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  • 10
    Book chapter
    Book chapter
    Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands
    Language: English
    In: NATO Science for Peace and Security Series C: Environmental Security, Uncertainties in Environmental Modelling and Consequences for Policy Making, pp.79-100
    Description: This chapter provides an introduction to interval arithmetic-based techniques for the verification of mathematical models. Illustrative examples are described from the fields of circle packing, chaotic behaviour dynamical systems, and process network synthesis.
    Keywords: Environment ; Math. Appl. in Environmental Science ; Environmental Law/Policy/Ecojustice ; Environmental Management ; Climate Change ; Soil Science & Conservation ; Engineering ; Environmental Sciences
    ISBN: 9789048126354
    ISBN: 9048126355
    Source: SpringerLink Books
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