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Earth's soils bear unmistakable footprints of humans
Date:1/25/2008

ted States Department of Agriculture, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and Duke's Center on Global Change.

A professor of soils and ecology at Duke's Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences, Richter and his international colleagues have recently established what is described as the first global network of long-term soil experiments, a network with an extensive web site <http://ltse.env.duke.edu>.

The network has two objectives, he said. "The first is to bring more attention to how fundamental soil is to environmental quality, the global carbon cycle, and climate change, all in addition to soil being the basis for food and fiber production."

The second objective, emphasized in the Soil Science report, "is to strengthen and renew the worlds long-term soils research sites, because those provide our best direct observations of how soils are changing on time scales of decades," he said.

One problem is that such studies have not worked together in the past. Study sites have never been comprehensively inventoried, and many operate without stable institutional support. Several highly productive long-term experiments have even been abandoned in recent years, including important studies in Africa and South America.

Despite those problems, long-term soil studies are clearly demonstrating the susceptibility of soils to change in response to land management," Richter said. "They also provide important data to model climate warming and the global carbon cycle.


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Contact: Monte Basgall
monte.basgall@duke.edu
919-681-8057
Duke University
Source:Eurekalert

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