Carbon storage and nutrient mobilization from soil minerals by deep roots and rhizospheres

TitleCarbon storage and nutrient mobilization from soil minerals by deep roots and rhizospheres
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsCallesen I, Harrison R, Stupak I, Hatten J, Raulund-Rasmussen K, Boyle J, Clarke N, Zabowski D
JournalForest Ecology and Management
Pagination322 - 331
Date Published2016///
ISBN Number0378-1127
KeywordsBoreal forest, Deep roots, Mineral weathering, Rhizospheres, Soil carbon, Temperate forest

Roots mobilize nutrients via deep soil penetration and rhizosphere processes inducing weathering of primary minerals. These processes contribute to C transfer to soils and to tree nutrition. Assessments of these characteristics and processes of root systems are important for understanding long-term supplies of nutrient elements essential for forest growth and resilience. Research and techniques have significantly advanced since Olof Tamm's 1934 "base mineral index" for Swedish forest soils, and the basic nutrient budget estimates for whole-tree harvesting systems of the 1970s. Recent research in areas that include some of the world's most productive and intensively managed forests, including Brazil and the USA, has shown that root systems are often several meters in depth, and often extend deeper than soil is sampled. Large amounts of carbon are also sometimes stored at depth. Other recent studies on potential release of nutrients due to chemical weathering indicate the importance of root access to deep soil layers. Nutrient release profiles clearly indicate depletion in the top layers and a much higher potential in B and C horizons. Reviewing potential sustainability of nutrient supplies for biomass harvesting and other intensive forest management systems will advance understanding of these important ecosystem properties, processes and services relevant for management.