Carbon: Soil Inorganic

Authored by: L. Suarez Donald

Managing Global Resources and Universal Processes

Print publication date:  July  2020
Online publication date:  July  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138342637
eBook ISBN: 9780429346132
Adobe ISBN:


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Inorganic carbon (IC) in the form of calcite (calcium carbonate mineral) and dolomite (calcium, magnesium carbonate) constitutes the earth’s major carbon source. Soil IC is also a major carbon pool in the earth’s near surface materials including soil. It is thus important to consider this C pool for quantification of the global C cycle as well as the impact of human activities on atmospheric carbon dioxide and potential mitigation actions. The link of this carbon pool to atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations and climate change relates to the precipitation or dissolution of these minerals in the near-surface environment. The impact of changes in soil IC on atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration depends on the local environmental and hydrological conditions. Under most environmental conditions, dissolution of these minerals leads to net removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The environmental processes related to land use that impact IC storage are numerous, including land clearing, timber harvesting, cropping, tillage, irrigation, and fertilization practices.

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