Changes in soil organic carbon storage under grassland as evidenced by changes in sulphur input–output budgets
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Information about temporal changes in soil organic carbon (C) pools may be obtained indirectly from changes in input-output budgets of organically combined nutrients such as sulphur (S). Sulphur budgets were therefore evaluated for Northern Ireland (NI) for the period 1940-1990, inclusive. These budgets indicated that the land or soil had acted first as a sink but then as a source for S, and that reserves of soil S built up between 1940 and 1965 were totally depleted by the mid-1980s. Pooled data from six long-term soil-monitoring sites on undisturbed grassland suggested that negative S budgets from the late-1970s onwards had been due to the net mineralization of soil organic matter and thus were indicative of net losses of organic C from surface soil horizons. There was some evidence that the decline in rainfall and fertiliser S inputs from the mid-1960s may have precipitated the breakdown of soil organic matter.
author list (cited authors)
Bailey, J. S., Deng, Y., & Smith, R. V.