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Title: Current developments in soil organic matter modeling and the expansion of model applications. A review

It is important to note that Soil organic matter (SOM) is a great natural resource. It is fundamental to soil and ecosystem functions across a wide range of scales, from site-specific soil fertility and water holding capacity to global biogeochemical cycling. It is also a highly complex material that is sensitive to direct and indirect human impacts. In our SOM research, simulation models play an important role by providing a mathematical framework to integrate, examine, and test the understanding of SOM dynamics. Simulation models of SOM are also increasingly used in more ‘applied’ settings to evaluate human impacts on ecosystem function, and to manage SOM for greenhouse gas mitigation, improved soil health, and sustainable use as a natural resource. Within this context, there is a need to maintain a robust connection between scientific developments in SOM modeling approaches and SOM model applications. This need forms the basis of this review. In this review we first provide an overview of SOM modeling, focusing on SOM theory, data-model integration, and model development as evidenced by a quantitative review of SOM literature. Second, we present the landscape of SOM model applications, focusing on examples in climate change policy. Finally, we conclude by discussingmore » five areas of recent developments in SOM modeling including: (1) microbial roles in SOM stabilization; (2) modeling SOM saturation kinetics; (3) temperature controls on decomposition; (4)SOM dynamics in deep soil layers; and (5)SOM representation in earth system models. Our aim is to comprehensively connect SOM model development to its applications, revealing knowledge gaps in need of focused interdisciplinary attention and exposing pitfalls that, if avoided, can lead to best use of SOM models to support policy initiatives and sustainable land management solutions.« less
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  1. Colorado State Univ., Fort Collins, CO (United States)
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Environmental Research Letters
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 10; Journal Issue: 12; Journal ID: ISSN 1748-9326
IOP Publishing
Research Org:
South Dakota State Univ., Brookings, SD (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC)
Country of Publication:
United States
OSTI Identifier: