Soil Carbon

Within the theme Soil Carbon, we study the behaviour and the many different roles of carbon in the soil system.

Soil carbon refers to the carbon present in soils, either present as organic carbon in soil organic matter or inorganic carbon in soil minerals. Soil carbon plays a pivotal role in soil functioning due to its strong influence on many soil processes and properties, such as nutrient availability, soil formation, soil stability, water storage and long-term carbon removal (i.e., carbon sequestration).

At the Soil Chemistry Group, we have broad expertise regarding research on soil carbon, mainly focusing on the biogeochemical processes controlling nutrient availability and carbon sequestration. We have a strong background in the analytical characterization of both the quantity and the composition of organic carbon. For this, we are using a range of analytical techniques which are facilitated by the Soil Chemistry Laboratory (CBLB).

We combine this knowledge on organic carbon quantity and quality with state-of-the-art geochemical modelling to simulate the interactions with the mineral phase. This helps us to find a balance between carbon stabilization (i.e., hoarding nutrients) and carbon decomposition (i.e., releasing nutrients). Furthermore, our group studies emerging methods for soil carbon sequestration, including enhanced silicate weathering. By doing so we contribute to the worldwide challenge to mitigate climate change.