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COST 639 - About
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COST 639 - About
Technical Annex

Background
Carbon (C) stored in soils represents the largest terrestrial organic carbon (C) pool. The biogeochemical cycles of C and nitrogen (N) are closely interwoven. Although the discussion on climate change focuses on CO2, the coupled cycling of C and N deserves equally much attention. As a result of mineralization processes, both elements are liberated from soil organic matter and can be lost from the soil via the aqueous or the gaseous phase. Both C and N occur in terrestrial ecosystems in several chemical forms and are potentially emitted as greenhouse gases (GHG). On the contrary, soils can act as a strong sink for GHGs. Considerable uncertainty exists regarding the sink strength of soils under different forms of land-use, especially under future climate conditions and in regimes of ecosystem disturbances, that are typical for particular regions. Due to the significance of the GHG exchange between the atmosphere and soils, C changes in terrestrial ecosystem pools are included in international treaties (Kyoto Protocol, UNFCCC).
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Objectives and benefits
The main objective of the Action is (i) the improved understanding of the management of greenhouse gas emissions from European soils under different forms of land-use and in particular disturbance regimes, (ii) the identification of hot spots of greenhouse gas emissions from soils, (iii) the identification of soil and site conditions that are vulnerable to GHG emissions, (iv) the development of an advanced reporting concept across different forms of land use and land-use changes,  (v) the delivery and communication policy relevant GHG reporting concepts, so as (vi) the improvement of the communication between soil C experts. The Action aims to identify gaps in previous projects such as the response of carbon and nitrogen pools in soils under typical regimes of ecosystem disturbances and land-use change. To achieve our objectives, we will establish a communication platform between experts for different forms of land use, modellers and statisticians, and the contributors to the existing framework of greenhouse gas reporting.
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