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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/soild-2-587-2015
© Author(s) 2015. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/soild-2-587-2015
© Author(s) 2015. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Review article 03 Jun 2015

Review article | 03 Jun 2015

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It has been under review for the journal SOIL (SOIL). The manuscript was not accepted for further review after discussion.

Organic nitrogen storage in mineral soil: implications for policy and management

A. H. Bingham1 and M. F. Cotrufo2 A. H. Bingham and M. F. Cotrufo
  • 1Air Resources Division, National Park Service, Denver, CO, USA
  • 2Department of Soil and Crop Sciences and Natural Resources Ecology Laboratory, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, USA

Abstract. Nitrogen is one of the most important ecosystem nutrients and often its availability limits net primary production as well as stabilization of soil organic matter. The long-term storage of nitrogen-containing organic matter in soils was classically attributed to chemical complexity of plant and microbial residues that retarded microbial degradation. Recent advances have revised this framework, with the understanding that persistent soil organic matter consists largely of chemically labile, microbially processed organic compounds. Chemical bonding to minerals and physical protection in aggregates are more important to long-term (i.e., centuries to millennia) preservation of these organic compounds that contain the bulk of soil nitrogen rather than molecular complexity, with the exception of nitrogen in pyrogenic organic matter. This review examines the factors and mechanisms that influence the long-term sequestration of organic nitrogen in mineral soils. It examines the policy and management implications which stem from this newly accepted paradigm, such as critical loads considerations and nitrogen saturation and mitigation consequences. Finally, it emphasizes how essential it is for this important but underappreciated pool to be better quantified and incorporated into policy and management decisions.

A. H. Bingham and M. F. Cotrufo
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Status: closed
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
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Interactive discussion
Status: closed
Status: closed
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
Printer-friendly Version - Printer-friendly version Supplement - Supplement
A. H. Bingham and M. F. Cotrufo
A. H. Bingham and M. F. Cotrufo
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