Project Details Multi-scale Biogeochemical Processes in Soil Ecosystems: Critical Reactions and Resilience to Climate Changes

Project No.:
Start Date:
01 March 2017
End Date:
Division Name:
Chemistry and the Environment Division
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A volume part of IUPAC-Wiley Book Series (edited by Nicola Senesi and Baoshan Xing): Biophysico-Chemical Processes in Environmental Systems [for the most recent volume published in 2016, see project 2011-019-1-600]

Biogeochemical processes in soil environments play an important role in regulating the emission of greenhouse gases (CO2, CH4, and N2O) and availability of major nutritional elements (N/P). Recent progresses have spanned from the atomic to global scale. Systematic integration of knowledge about the soil biogeochemical processes is critical for sustainable agricultural development and mitigation of harmful effects derived from climate changes. Therefore, the overall goal of this book is to provide scientific and professional communities with the critical evaluation by internationally-recognized leading scientists on the biogeochemical processes of C/N/P in soil ecosystems spanning multiple scales. Specific objectives of this project are to address:
1) microscale characterizations of critical soil biogeochemical reactions of C/N/P;
2) ecosystem-level observations of soil biogeochemical processes;
3) modeling of large-scale cycles; and
4) resilience of important processes to climate change and potential management strategy.

By systematic evaluation of recent progresses in the area, recommendations for priority research areas will be made. This book will be an important reference for professors, scientists, engineers, agronomists, students, and policy makers.


One of the major challenges for sustainable development of human society is to maintain food security for rapidly growing human population, which is expected to reach 11 billion by the end of this century. The food security needs soil security; both are threatened by the climate change, including increased temperature and drought, as well as related problems such as soil erosion and quality degradation. The climate change is mainly driven by the emission of greenhouse gases (CO2, CH4, and N2O). A complete understanding of the cycles of C and major nutritional elements (N/P) is critical for development of innovative strategy to sustain agricultural development and environment conservation, and mitigate the harmful effects of climate change.

Soil biogeochemical processes are important for the global cycles of C, as soil is one of the largest reservoirs for C on the earth surface. Stability and processes of C in soil govern the concentration of greenhouse gases including CO2 and CH4. Reactions of N and P in soil control their bioavailability and uptake by plant. However, disentangling the biogeochemical processes controlling C/N/P cycling in soils is challenging because of the heterogeneity and complexity of soils. Recent advances in the development and application of advanced technologies for characterizing microscale processes, including but not limited to synchrotron-based analysis, Nano-SIMS, and advanced mass spectroscopy, provide much insight into the critical reactions occurring at mineral-organic matter-microorganism interfaces in soils. On the other hand, great efforts revolve around measuring and modeling biogeochemical processes and fluxes at ecosystem or global scales. There are still large knowledge gaps in upscaling the mechanisms determined at microscales and development of process-based model, prediction for the large-scale cycles of C/N/P, and understanding the soil ecosystem resilience to climate changes. Therefore, with a systematic and interdisciplinary approach, this book will bring together world-renowned international scientists on the recent progresses in understanding and evaluating soil biogeochemical processes spanning from atomic to global scales. This book is expected to be useful for sustainable agricultural development and management of soil ecosystems under climate changes.

Differently from other books focusing on a single scale, this volume will synthesize the knowledge about C/N/P cycles across molecular to global scales. Integration and evaluation of research frontiers across a range of spatial scales will provide researchers, practitioners and policy makers with an overview of current understanding about the biogeochemical processes of elements critical for soil health and food security in the face of global change. Such scaling up would be immensely valuable for the development and recommendation of management strategies with the aim of mitigating climate change.

The proposed book will be composed of 29 chapters in 4 parts. Part I with 9 chapters will focus on the molecular-scale processes and reactions; Part II with 9 chapters will regard the ecosystem-level observations; Part III with 5 chapters will emphasize the large-scale modeling; and Part IV with 6 chapters will discuss the strategy for improvement of ecosystem resilience to climate change.


page last updated 14 March 2017