Carbon: Soil Inorganic

Authored by: Donald L. Suarez

Encyclopedia of Environmental Management

Print publication date:  December  2012
Online publication date:  December  2012

Print ISBN: 9781439829271
eBook ISBN: 9781351235860
Adobe ISBN:

10.1081/E-EEM-120046426

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Abstract

Inorganic carbon (IC) in the form of calcite (calcium carbonate mineral) and dolomite (calcium, magnesium carbonate) constitutes the earth's major carbon source. Soil IC is also a major carbon pool in the earth's near-surface materials including soil. It is thus important to consider this C pool for quantification of the global C cycle as well as the impact of human activities on atmospheric carbon dioxide and potential mitigation actions. The link of this carbon pool to atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations and climate change relates to the precipitation or dissolution of these minerals in the near-surface environment. The impact of changes in soil IC on atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration depends on the local environmental and hydrological conditions. Under most environmental conditions, dissolution of these minerals leads to net removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The environmental processes related to land use that impact IC storage are numerous, including land clearing, timber harvesting, cropping, tillage, irrigation, and fertilization practices.

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