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Deforestation of sandy soils a greater climate threat
Date:4/1/2014

and water. This capacity might buffer soil microbes against the disturbance of forest removal, they said. In contrast, sandy soils have larger particles with less surface area, retaining fewer nutrients and less organic matter.

"If you disrupt the community in a sandy soil, all of the nutrients the microbes rely on for food are leached away: they're lost into the atmosphere, lost into rivers, lost through rain," Crowther said. "But in clay-like soil, you can cut down the forest and the nutrients remain trapped tightly in the muddy clay."

The researchers also examined how the effects of deforestation on microbial biodiversity change over time. Contrary to their expectations, they found no correlation, even over the course of 200 years.

"The effects are consistent, no matter how long ago deforestation happened," Crowther said. "In a clay soil, you cut down the forest and the nutrients are retained for long periods of time and the community doesn't change. Whereas in a sandy soil, you cut down a forest and the community changes dramatically within only a couple of years."

Using previously documented information about soil distribution, the researchers were able to map potential areas where belowground ecosystems are more likely to be vulnerable to deforestation. This has the potential to inform land management practices concerned with the conservation of biodiversity and the sequestration of carbon in the soil.


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Contact: Kevin Dennehy
kevin.dennehy@yale.edu
203-436-4842
Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies
Source:Eurekalert  

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Related biology news :

1. Time, place and how wood is used are factors in carbon emissions from deforestation
2. Deforestation in the Amazon equals net losses of diversity for microbial communities
3. Amazon deforestation brings loss of microbial communities
4. More logging, deforestation may better serve climate in some areas
5. Sandy beaches, hydrocarbon reservoirs, tectonic tilting: Its all about geology
6. Post-Sandy, Long Island barrier systems appear surprisingly sound
7. Rising carbon dioxide in atmosphere also speeds carbon loss from forest soils, IU-led research finds
8. Plants and soils could exacerbate climate change as global climate warms
9. Warmer soils release additional CO2 into atmosphere; Effect stabilizes over longer term
10. Soils in newly forested areas store substantial carbon that could help offset climate change
11. Scientists uncover the secret life of frozen soils
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