Conceptual Innovations

To meet the described need, it is required to introduce in agriculture more scientifically reliable, effective, and persistent soil management practices for carbon sequestration in soil. For the overall societal benefit, it is necessary to fully develop new technologies in agriculture with the added value given by advanced science that goes beyond traditional views.

An important feature involved in the stabilization and accumulation of OC in soils and sediments is the quality of organic matter. While SOC accumulation has been conceptually regarded as the saturation process of soil minerals by OC (Hassink and Whitmore 1997; Six et al. 2002), and, hence, governed by the physical control on decomposition (Scott et al. 1996; von Lutzow et al. 2006), the OM chemical quality has been often considered as a secondary variable for SOC sequestration strategies. However, no direct or linear relation has ever been found between soil physical properties (texture, mineral composition, aggregation) and SOM stabilization (Dignac et al. 2002; Leifeld and Kogel-Knabner 2005).

In recent years, the concepts of C saturation in soil were further developed (Zhao et al. 2006; Stewart et al. 2009), and the relationship between the biochemical recalcitrance of humus and SOC stabilization processes has been taken in consideration (Augris et al. 1998; Lichtfouse et al. 1998; Kogel-Knabner 2002; Lorenz et al. 2007). In fact, the processes of SOM accumulation and decomposition depend closely on the molecular characteristics of the organic matter reaching the soil. This affects not only the amount of OM incorporated in soil, but also its chemical reactivity that regulates the function of OC pools as source or sink of atmospheric CO2 (Baldock et al. 1992, 1997; Webster et al. 2000).

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