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Department of Plant Sciences

Soil organic matter to the rescue?

Tropical rain forest are likely to grow more, and produce more litterfall, as a result of increasing temperature and carbon dioxide. We experimentally doubled litterfall in large plots in forest in Panama; there were also removal plots. After six years of continuously adding litter Edmund Tanner's group found that soil organic matter and many plant available nutrients were increased down to as far as 30cm into the soil. This increase in organic carbon in the soil reduces the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.


Panama litter manipulation plots