...that is being farmed on using industrial agricultural methods? I am just curious. Say you've got a field of mono cropped corn sprayed with fertilizers and biocides. The plants take in carbon in the process of photosynthesis, that carbon turns into the plant, plant is removed from site after harvest so no carbon makes it into the soil in the form of organic matter, but how is carbon leaving the soil and going into the atmosphere? Maybe the plowing is what does it??? If plowing is the main cause can someone explain what's going on at the microscopic level of what's happening when you plow? Bacteria eating OM and farting out carbon or what??
Large losses of soil organic matter can be attributed to cultivation. Organic matter that is inside aggregates or coated with soil particles is protected by decomposition because microorganisms are unable to come into physical contact with it. Tillage disturbs the soil and brings "protected" organic matter in to physical contact with microorganisms, which then decompose it. No-till systems can overcome this problem. No-till systems also decrease soil erosion. Organic matter and microorganisms are restricted to the top layers of the soil. This increases the potential for losing organic matter if management practices cause soil loss.
Its no different than the process by which carbon breaks down in your compost pile, much of that carbon gases-off, while a smaller percentage of bio-mass is left that remains somewhat stable.
Soil carbon, when exposed to a significant bump in oxygen, decomposes via microbial activity eating that carbon. When you turn your compost pile, the microbes "bloom" and rapidly multiply, eating available food sources. When you turn your soil, the exact same thing happens.
"The rule of no realm is mine. But all worthy things that are in peril as the world now stands, these are my care. And for my part, I shall not wholly fail in my task if anything that passes through this night can still grow fairer or bear fruit and flower again in days to come. For I too am a steward. Did you not know?" Gandolf
The natural cycle is one of balance in a no till situation. There is a mix of aerobic and anaerobic life in the soil which break down sequestered carbon and release it's energy for reuse. When we till the soil and add more oxygen into the mix, the carbon is released very quickly for a short period of time, but eventually the soil becomes depleted and reintroduction of nitrogen and even carbon for soil structure is necessary--this is a huge waste of energy and thus to be avoided.
The real world is bizarre enough for me...Blue Oyster Cult
moose poop looks like football shaped elk poop. About the size of this tiny ad:
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