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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Physics, Chemistry, and Ecology of Frozen Soils in Managed Ecosystems: An Introduction

Authors
item SHARRATT, BRENTON
item Radke, Jerry
item Hinzman, L - UNIVERSITY OF ALASKA
item Iskandar, I - US ARMY COLD REGION LAB
item Groenevelt, P - UNIVERSTIY OF GUELPH

Submitted to: Seasonally Frozen Soils Symposium
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: June 12, 1997
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Freezing and thawing is a process that affects soils in many regions of the world. To cope with issues related to a rising population and environmental quality, knowledge must be advanced concerning the impact of soil freezing on productivity and diversity of managed ecosystems. The International Symposium on Physics, Chemistry, and Ecology of Seasonally Frozen Soils is a step toward broadening our knowledge of frozen soil processes. The information presented at the symposium and published within the symposium proceedings represent some of the most recent advancements in the physiochemistry and biology of seasonally frozen soils. There are gaps in our knowledge concerning adaptation of organisms, alteration in the structure, and fate of chemicals in frozen soils. New methods in the detection and prediction of frozen soil processes must be developed to optimize productivity and diversity of ecosystems. This information will be useful to all people who utilize the soil resource in cold regions and desire to find sustainable and environmentally-safe management systems.

Technical Abstract: Some of the world's most productive soils lie within cold regions. To enhance the productivity and quality of soil resources within these regions, knowledge must be advanced concerning the impact of freezing and thawing on soil properties and processes. The International Symposium on Physics, Chemistry, and Ecology of Seasonally Frozen Soils is a step toward broadening our knowledge of frozen soil processes. This paper emphasizes the physical nature of frozen soil and the importance of freezing and thawing to the transport of water and heat at the earth's surface. We also discuss the chemistry and biology of the soil system as affected by freezing and thawing. Ascertaining changes in ecosystem structure and productivity in response to perturbations in climate or management depends primarily on the use of models; these models require the acquisition of new knowledge to better define linkages among the physical, chemical, and biological components in cold regions. New knowledge concerning the dynamics of the frozen soil system will allow global societies and industries to develop sustainable and environmentally-safe management systems.

Last Modified: 7/28/2014
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