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Trillions of tonnes of carbon locked in soil has been left out of environmental models – and it’s on the move

By Yuanyuan Huang, Senior Research Scientist, Chinese Academy of Sciences
Pep Canadell, Chief Research Scientist, CSIRO Environment; Executive Director, Global Carbon Project, CSIRO
Yingping Wang, Chief research scientist, CSIRO
We all know about the carbon in Earth’s atmosphere, and probably about the carbon contained in plants and the bodies of animals. But a substantial fraction of the carbon in the planet’s land-based ecosystems is held in something so obvious we might overlook it: soil.

Even if we do think about carbon in soil, we are usually thinking of carbon in organic matter in the soil, such as plant litter, bacteria or animal waste. However, the inorganic, mineral component of soil also contains carbon.

In a new study just…The Conversation

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