VAMOS endeavours to understand the effects of global warming on soil organic matter stability. The project is to assess the function of soil as source or sink for atmospheric carbon dioxide.
The soil is the largest reservoir of carbon in the terrestrial ecosystem with more than 25 % in temperate forests. The changes in size of this reservoir and, as a result, in the concentration of the atmospheric CO2 by global warming is of main importance at a global scale. The climate clearly dominates the pattern of mass-loss rates through decomposition; VAMOS focusses on the stock and the turnover of the soil organic matter in boreal, atlantic and mediterranean forest ecosystems and will assess the sensitivity of litter and soil organic matter pools to predict patterns of climate changes taking into account the effects of the below-ground environmental conditions and soil organic matter stability. While emphasizing the carbon cycle, it will take into account the interactions between carbon and nitrogen and point out how carbon dynamic drives the nitrogen availability.
VAMOS is closely linked to the DECO project on litter decomposition, initiated by B. Berg (Sweden) and organized by FERN/ESF in a N-S transect from Finland to South of Spain and Italy and its purpose coincides with the recommendation of the Global Change Programme of IGBP-GCTE.
The innovation of this project is to perform a set of integrated experiments using standard labelled (13C and 15N) plant material in coniferous forest ecosystems to study its decomposition rate and the fate of its carbon and nitrogen in relation to climate and to measure, by labelling different humus, the turnover of the soil organic matter pools. The aim of these experiments are to determine:
- the C loss as CO2 to the atmosphere from the litter and the humus layer
- the global input of C and N from the litter to the soil (reservoir) either by humification or migration
- the transfers of C and N through the profile
- the relation between C/N ratio dynamics and net mineralization (N availability for plants).
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
750 07 Uppsala
EX4 4PS Exeter