Study: Fallen leaves found less polluting

March 21, 2007

U.S. government scientists say freshly fallen leaves contribute less to the levels of carbon in mineral soil than was previously believed.

A team led by Mats Froberg and Paul Hanson at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory used the local release of carbon-14 to track dissolved organic carbon movement from canopy leaves, or litter, sources.

The scientists said they were able to quantify the proportion of dissolved organic carbon that originated from decomposing fresh litter. Dissolved organic carbon has an important role in the soil carbon cycle, since it represents a key transport pathway for carbon in solution to move from forest floor carbon sources to the mineral soil, where it can contribute to the buildup of carbon stocks.

The research, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science, is said to provide another step toward predicting the fate of terrestrial carbon.

The study appears in the March-April issue of Soil Science Society of America Journal.

Copyright 2007 by United Press International

Explore further: New element tracking method a boon for geoscientists

Related Stories

New element tracking method a boon for geoscientists

November 20, 2015

Geoscientists track how elements cycle across land, air and water to better understand climate change, ecological food webs and resources, plant nutrient cycling, water use and for forensics purposes.

Permafrost: hiding a climate time bomb?

November 20, 2015

On the front line of climate change in the Canadian Arctic, scientists hunt for clues to a potentially catastrophic global warming trend: melting permafrost.

Did Dust Bowl's ravages end in the 1940s? New study says no

October 29, 2015

A recent study led by the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Goodrich Chair of Excellence Thanos Papanicolaou could very well change the way we view the health of our nation's soil, even potentially altering history books.

Seven case studies in carbon and climate

November 13, 2015

Every part of the mosaic of Earth's surface—ocean and land, Arctic and tropics, forest and grassland—absorbs and releases carbon in a different way. Wild-card events such as massive wildfires and drought complicate the ...

Recommended for you


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.