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COST 639
COST 639 - Information
History of the proposal

Soils are recognized as important sinks of GHGs. They are sequestering large amounts of C and N and hold them partially in molecules with a very long residence time. Another part of the soil organic matter is quickly mineralised and releases GHGs to the atmosphere. Land-use and land-use changes are known to exert a strong influence on the soil C and N pool. Adapted forms of land management exist, that optimise the sink strength of soils with respect to greenhouse gases. Ecosystem disturbances and climatic change (warming) can turn soils into a source of GHGs. The high inherent spatial variability of chemical soil properties makes subtle temporal changes difficult to detect. In recognition of these difficulties are soils often mentioned as potential GHG sinks, but the available knowledge is mostly based on single case studies, whereas a comprehensive treatment across disciplines is still lacking. The soil science community has established a network of national and international societies. Soil experts are often specialized to a certain type of land-use. Soil scientists in agriculture are often only sparsely communicating with forest soil experts. Marginally productive land, such as high elevation soils and peatland, is often the field of specialists, who are not active in agriculture and forestry. The bottom line is that the community of soil scientists is quite scattered. In the current GHG reporting system different protocols exist for different kinds of land-use. In a future reporting system it will be required to track soil C and N across the interface of different forms of land-use. A communication platform for the involved scientists needs to be established.

Forest soils and their emission of GHGs have been thoroughly investigated and a lot of meta-information has been collated within the COST Action E21 and the project CarboInvent (FP 5). Nitrogen oxide emissions from soils have been the topic of the NOFRETE (FP 5). A plethora of soil respiration has been pursued. It is clear that soil respiration and the release of GHGs into the atmosphere are accelerated in a warmer world, but also that soil respiration is not an efficient indicator for soil C and N stock changes. In recent research activities it was made clear that reliable concepts exists for the fate of forest soil C during the development of the forest, but that important information of the effect of land-use changes and ecosystem disturbance is still missing. The information on forest soils is exceptionally good, because recent projects can already build on harmonized pan-European data sets. In contrast, the information on agricultural soils in Europe is less homogenous.

In hindsight with upcoming GHG reporting needs it will be necessary to communicate intensely in order to ensure that the retention of GHG in soils receives the due attention. Participants of several large projects have combined their efforts to launch the COST Action in order to generate a platform for fruitful discussions and the preparation of reports, that are useful for policy decisions.

List of experts who have contributed to the proposal

List of Experts (PDF)

Potential contributors (alphabetically)

Dan Berggren, Department of Soil Science, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden;
Chiquinquirá Hontoria Fernández, Dept. Edafología, E.T.S.I. Agrónomos,
Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Madrid, Spain;
Phil Ineson, University of York, UK;
Per-Erik Jansson, Department of Land and Water Resources Engineering, Sweden, Sweden;
Polona Kalan, Forest Ecology Dept., Slovenian Forest Institute, Slovenia;
O. Janne Kjønaas, Norwegian Forest Research Institute, Ås, Norway;
Christian Körner, Department of Botany, University of Basel
Jens Leifeld, Agroscope FAL Reckenholz, Swiss Federal Research Station for Agroecology and Agriculture, Zürich;
Agustín Merino García, Dept. Edafología y Química Agrícola, Escuela
Politécnica Superior, Universidad de Santiago de Compostela, Lugo, Spain;
Ronnie Milne, CEH-Edinburgh, Bush Estate, Penicuik, Midlothian, UK;
Luca Montanarella, JRC Ispra, Italy
Juan Carlos Rodríguez Murillo, Centro de Ciencias Medioambientales,
C.S.I.C., Madrid, Spain;
Jørgen E. Olesen, Agricultural University, Denmark;
Maria Sanz, Ministerio Ambiental, Madrid, Spain
Michael Schmidt, Department of Geography, University of Zürich,
Detlef Schulze, Max-Planck-Institut für Biogeochemie, Jena, Germany;
Primoz Simoncic, Slovenian Forest Institute, Ljubljana, Slovenia,
Keith Smith, University of Edinburgh, UK;
Michael Starr, University of Helsinki;
Mihej Urbancic, Forest Ecology Dept., Slovenian Forest Institute, Slovenia;
Ramon Vallejo, Centro de Estudios Ambientales del Mediterraneo, Spain;
Walter Wenzel, BOKU, Vienna, Austria;
Eva-Maria Wild, Institut für Isotopenforschung, Universität Wien, Austria;
Bernd Zeller, INRA Nancy, Biogeochemistry in Forest Ecosystems, France,

18.12.06 | Preier, P.
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