The turnover of soil organic matter in some of the Rothamsted classical experiments

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Jenkinson, D. S. and Rayner, J. H. 1977. The turnover of soil organic matter in some of the Rothamsted classical experiments. Soil Science. 123 (5), pp. 298-305.

AuthorsJenkinson, D. S. and Rayner, J. H.

Data are assembled from the Rothamsted classical field experiments on the effects of long-continued cropping and manuring on the amount of organic matter in soil, on the age of this soil organic matter, on the amount of microbial biomass in the soil, and on the rate at which plant residues decompose in these soils. These data were then fitted to a model in which soil organic matter was separated into five compartments: decomposable plant material (DPM, half-life 0.165 years); resistant plant material (RPM, 2.31 years); soil biomass (BIO, 1.69 years); physically stabilized organic matter (POM, 49.5 years) and chemically stabilized organic matter (COM, 1980 years) For unitary input of plant material (1 t fresh plant C ha-1 year-1) under steady-state conditions, after 10,000 years, the model predicts that the soil will contain 0.01 t C in DPM, 0.47 t in RPM, 0.28 t in BIO, 11.3 t in POM, and 12.2 t in COM. The predicted radiocarbon age is 1240 years (equivalent age). The fit between predicted and measured data is sufficiently good to suggest that the model is a useful representation of the turnover of organic matter in cropped soils. 

KeywordsRRES175; 175_Soil science; 175_Long-term experiments
Year of Publication1977
JournalSoil Science
Journal citation123 (5), pp. 298-305
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Open accessPublished as non-open access
PublisherWolters Kluwer
Collective titleSoil Science

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