The movement and storage of carbon is a central focus across the natural resource sector due to the impact of carbon cycle dynamics on global climate change. While many of our activities on the land focus on above-ground forms of carbon, the largest terrestrial carbon pool is found in the soil. Soil organic carbon (SOC) makes up 85% of the terrestrial carbon stock in the boreal forest and 60% in temperate forests [1,2,3]. British Columbia alone contains approximately 1% of the world?s SOC stocks (data from ). The savings account in the soil Soil organic carbon stocks are more resistant to change than above-ground stocks, but can grow or shrink over time depending on the balance of inputs to (e.g. plant litter) and outputs from (e.g. microbial respiration) the soil. A little like a savings account, SOC stocks tend to accumulate or dwindle incrementally, but can sometimes experience major disturbances that cause more acute stock changes. Soil carbon dynamics depend on climate, geology, site hydrology, organisms, soil properties, and many other drivers. Shifts in any of these drivers have the potential to encourage greater carbon release, which could increase CO2 in the atmosphere and accelerate climate change, or foster greater carbon storage, which could mitigate climate change.
B.C. Forest Carbon Initiative Soil Carbon Working Group, Julia Amerongen Maddison, Chuck Bulmer, Tony Trofymow, Cindy Prescott, Brian Wallace, Tim Philpott, Caren Dymond, Art Fredeen. 2021. Soil Carbon in Forest Ecosystems: Pools and Processes. FLNRORD. Misc. Report (FLNRORD). MR125
Keywords: global carbon cycle; climate change mitigation; soil organic carbon; British Columbia forests; forest ecosystem carbon stocks
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