Soil organic matter
Soil organic matter
Journal of Ecosystem and Ecography is an international open access journal publishing the quality peer-reviewed research articles relevant to the field of Environmental Sciences. The journal selects the articles to be published with a single bind, peer review system, following the practices of good scholarly journals. It supports the open access policy of making scientific research accessible to one and all.
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The organic matter in soil derives from plants, animals and microorganisms. In a forest, for example, leaf litter and woody material falls to the forest floor. This is sometimes referred to as organic material. When it decays to the point in which it is no longer recognizable, it is called soil organic matter. When the organic matter has broken down into a stable substance that resist further decomposition it is called humus. Thus soil organic matter comprises all of the organic matter in the soil exclusive of the material that has not decayed.
An important property of soil organic matter is that it improves the capacity of a soil to hold water and nutrients, and allows their slow release, thereby improving the conditions for plant growth. Another advantage of humus is that it helps the soil to stick together which allows nematodes, or microscopic bacteria, to easily decay the nutrients in the soil.
There are several ways to quickly increase the amount of humus. Combining compost, plant or animal materials/waste, or green manure with soil will increase the amount of humus in the soil.
Compost: decomposed organic material.
Plant and animal material and waste: dead plants or plant waste such as leaves or bush and tree trimmings, or animal manure.
Green manure: plants or plant material that is grown for the sole purpose of being incorporated with soil.
These three materials supply nematodes and bacteria with nutrients for them to thrive and produce more humus, which will give plants enough nutrients to survive and grow.
The priming effect is characterized by intense changes in the natural process of soil organic matter (SOM) turnover, resulting from relatively moderate intervention with the soil. The phenomenon is generally caused by either pulsed or continuous changes to inputs of fresh organic matter (FOM). Priming effects usually result in an acceleration of mineralization due to a trigger such as the FOM inputs. The cause of this increase in decomposition has often been attributed to an increase in microbial activity resulting from higher energy and nutrient availability released from the FOM. After the input of FOM, specialized microorganisms are believed to grow quickly and only decompose this newly added organic matter. The turnover rate of SOM in these areas is at least one order of magnitude higher than the bulk soil.
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Journal of Ecosystem and Ecography