Earth's soil carbon reservoir poses massive risk to climate change mitigation

Soil carbon is a valuable, vulnerable resource. Carbon is sequestered underground after being "fixed" from the atmosphere via plants or organic residues and then incorporated into soils through largely natural processes. Soil carbon content consists of both living and dead components and can include both field stubble, as well as decayed materials from millennia ago. When soil is disturbed or degraded, trapped carbon and other greenhouse gasses resulting from decay are re-released back into the atmosphere. This means that the Earth's soil carbon reservoir could either release massive amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere or sequester more of them, depending on the management decisions we make going forward, the report says. 

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