“Carbon dynamics” project completed
Soils in the Alps and in Ticino exhibit the greatest potential vulnerability to loss of soil organic matter, i.e. potential release of carbon.
The aim of the “Carbon dynamics” project, conducted by Samuel Abiven of the University of Zurich, was to determine the vulnerability of the organic matter in Swiss forest soils to climate change. The vulnerability of the soil organic matter can be defined as potential release of carbon by the soil due to altered environmental conditions.
The team is able to propose forecasting tools for assessing the vulnerability of soils based either on statistical models or on simple measurements. The results of the study can be integrated into greenhouse gas inventories.
Despite extensive literature on the importance of clay content for soil organic matter degradation, this factor does not appear to be significant compared with other parameters. Geographic zones and soil were identified that are at particular risk. These include the soils of the Alpine region, especially those with high pH values. These soils already call for special attention.