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The Use of Radiocarbon to Measure the Effects of Earthworms On Soil Development

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 July 2016

J D Stout
Affiliation:
Soil Bureau, Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, Lower Hutt, New Zealand
K M Goh
Affiliation:
Lincoln College, Canterbury, New Zealand
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Abstract

Δ14C and δ13C values for organic matter in forest and grassland soils, in the presence or absence of earthworms, indicate that it should be possible to quantify the effects of earthworms on soil organic matter by this means. Without earthworms, both in forest and grassland soils, plant debris tends to accumulate on the surface of the mineral soil and little organic matter is incorporated into or is translocated down the soil profile. Where earthworms are present, there is much more marked incorporation of fresh plant debris in the mineral soil. This is shown especially by the pulse of ‘bomb’ carbon and also by the δ13C values.

Type
Soils and Groundwater
Copyright
Copyright © The American Journal of Science

References

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