An accurate understanding of soil processes is critical for predicting climate-ecosystem feedbacks, attributing global CO2 sinks between land and ocean, and optimizing mitigation via biofuels and sequestration. Long-standing gaps in process-level understanding make the role of soils in global change highly uncertain. In our current projects (Belowground Biogeochemistry SFA, NGEE Arctic, and NGEE Tropics), we address these gaps by conducting basic experimental, observational, and numerical research with a focus on terrestrial biogeochemistry and climate feedbacks. Success will provide us with accurate process-level understanding of the controls of soil carbon turnover and stocks, and useful predictions of soil carbon response to climate change and land-use change.
The Terrestrial Ecosystems Science Program is one of three programs within the Earth and Environmental Sciences Area, Climate & Carbon Sciences Program Area. This program’s focus is to understand and explain mechanisms and processes controlling primary production, carbon cycling, and soil biogeochemistry; the impacts of disturbance on terrestrial ecosystems; and ecosystem feedbacks to climate in vulnerable environments. In addition, it seeks to establish and maintain environmental field observatories.