Soil Quality: Carbon and Nitrogen Gases

Authored by: Philippe Rochette , Sean McGinn , Reynald Lemke

Managing Soils and Terrestrial Systems

Print publication date:  July  2020
Online publication date:  July  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138342651
eBook ISBN: 9780429346255
Adobe ISBN:


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Several gases are either produced or consumed by biological and chemical transformations of carbon and nitrogen in soils. Some of these gases, including carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O), play a role in the Earth’s radiation balance (greenhouse effect) while others, like carbon monoxide (CO), ammonia (NH3), and nitrogen oxides (NOx, i.e., NO and NO2) have negative impacts on atmospheric chemistry. In this entry, we briefly describe how carbon and nitrogen gases are produced or consumed in soils and how soil management and soil quality can affect these processes.

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