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Getting to the root of the matter
Date:8/19/2008

cial section demonstrates that root and carbon dynamics are highly complex, requiring nearly continuous monitoring to understand the biophysical factors that regulate belowground carbon dynamics.

A few of the collected papers are concerned with the development of mathematical models that simulate various root processes, including the uptake of water. These types of models form the basis for various computer simulation tools that are currently used in agricultural and environmental management. For example, one paper in the collection uses such a model to investigate the role of root uptake in regulating the movement of plutonium in soils at the Savannah River nuclear materials processing site.

Roots can also be studied at the level of plant species or biomes. Included in the new collection is research reporting on differences in root zone hydrologic behavior for various species in chaparral ecosystems. The observed differences are minor, but there are detectible differences in how different vegetation affects the water budget. Other research looks at factors affecting rooting depth for different soils, climates, and vegetation. The authors conclude that many ecological factors favor shallow roots over deep roots, and hypothesize that root distributions for particular plant communities tend to be only as deep as necessary to meet specific water requirements.


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Contact: Sara Uttech
suttech@soils.org
608-268-4948
Soil Science Society of America
Source:Eurekalert

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