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ARS Home » Plains Area » El Reno, Oklahoma » Grazinglands Research Laboratory » Agroclimate and Natural Resources Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #336750

Research Project: ADAPTING SOIL AND WATER CONSERVATION TO MEET THE CHALLENGES OF A CHANGING CLIMATE

Location: Agroclimate and Natural Resources Research

Title: Climate change, soil health, and ecosystem goods and services

Author
item Rottler, Caitlin

Submitted to: Miscellaneous Publishing Information Bulletin
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/15/2016
Publication Date: 12/5/2016
Citation: Rottler, C.M. 2016. Climate change, soil health, and ecosystem goods and services [abstract]. A Community on Ecosystem Services (ACES), Implementation Advances and Challenges. December 5-9, 2016, Jacksonville, Florida. Available: http://www.conference.ifas.ufl.edu/aces/documents/ACES_2016_Abstract_Book.pdf. pg. 259.

Interpretive Summary: Worldwide, climate change is predicted to alter precipitation regimes, annual temperatures, and occurrence of severe weather events. These changes have important implications for soil health-- defined as the capacity of a soil to contribute to ecosystem function and sustain producers and consumers-- and, as a consequence, ecosystem goods and services. Soil health affects the ability of ecosystems to sustain productivity and sequester carbon. In extreme cases, such as those experienced during the 1930s Dust Bowl, soil degradation can result in a nearly complete loss of plant productivity and subsequent erosion of bare, nutrient-rich topsoil. Soil health is especially dependent upon the presence of soil organic matter, which provides nutrients to plants and improves the water-holding capacity of soils, among other functions. Climate change will affect soil organic matter content to varying degrees, since climate change is not predicted to affect all areas to the same extent or in the same manner. Drought occurrence is expected to increase in some areas, resulting in decreased plant productivity and increased loss of soil due to wind and water erosion. In other regions, predicted severe weather events will potentially increase rates of soil weathering and nutrient loss. Inputs of organic matter to the soil are also likely to alter as plant communities shift with changing climate, affecting soil fertility and water-holding capacity. This presentation will detail several (predicted?) effects of climate change on soil health, especially those that have the largest potential to affect ecosystem goods and services in the United States.

Technical Abstract: Worldwide, climate change is predicted to alter precipitation regimes, annual temperatures, and occurrence of severe weather events. These changes have important implications for soil health-- defined as the capacity of a soil to contribute to ecosystem function and sustain producers and consumers-- and, as a consequence, ecosystem goods and services. Soil health affects the ability of ecosystems to sustain productivity and sequester carbon. In extreme cases, such as those experienced during the 1930s Dust Bowl, soil degradation can result in a nearly complete loss of plant productivity and subsequent erosion of bare, nutrient-rich topsoil. Soil health is especially dependent upon the presence of soil organic matter, which provides nutrients to plants and improves the water-holding capacity of soils, among other functions. Climate change will affect soil organic matter content to varying degrees, since climate change is not predicted to affect all areas to the same extent or in the same manner. Drought occurrence is expected to increase in some areas, resulting in decreased plant productivity and increased loss of soil due to wind and water erosion. In other regions, predicted severe weather events will potentially increase rates of soil weathering and nutrient loss. Inputs of organic matter to the soil are also likely to alter as plant communities shift with changing climate, affecting soil fertility and water-holding capacity. This presentation will detail several (predicted?) effects of climate change on soil health, especially those that have the largest potential to affect ecosystem goods and services in the United States.