Industrial agriculture is yearly responsible for the loss of 55–100 Pg of historical soil carbon and 9.9 Tg of reactive nitrogen worldwide. Therefore, management practices should be adapted to preserve ecological processes and reduce inputs and environmental impacts. In particular, the management of soil organic matter (SOM) is a key factor influencing C and N cycles. Soil microorganisms play a central role in SOM dynamics. For instance, microbial diversity may explain up to 77 % of carbon mineralisation activities. However, soil microbial diversity is actually rarely taken into account in models of C and N dynamics. Here, we review the influence of microbial diversity on C and N dynamics, and the integration of microbial diversity in soil C and N models. We found that a gain of microbial richness and evenness enhances soil C and N dynamics on the average, though the improvement of C and N dynamics depends on the composition of microbial community. We reviewed 50 models integrating soil microbial diversity. More than 90 % of models integrate microbial diversity with discrete compartments representing conceptual functional groups (64 %) or identified taxonomic groups interacting in a food web (28 %). Half of the models have not been tested against an empirical dataset while the other half mainly consider fixed parameters. This is due to the difficulty to link taxonomic and functional diversity.
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Role of microbial diversity in soil carbon and nitrogen dynamics
Soil microbial diversity in current soil carbon and nitrogen dynamics models
What way towards predictive modelling approaches including soil microbial diversity?