Predicting nitrogen and acidity effects on long-term dynamics of dissolved organic matter

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Rowe, E.C. ; Tipping, E. ; Posch, M. ; Oulehle, Filip ; Cooper, D.M. ; Jones, T.G. ; Burden, A. ; Hall, J. ; Evans, C.D. (2014)

Increases in dissolved organic carbon (DOC) fluxes may relate to changes in sulphur and nitrogen pollution. We integrated existing models of vegetation growth and soil organic matter turnover, acid-base dynamics, and organic matter mobility, to form the ‘MADOC’ model. After calibrating parameters governing interactions between pH and DOC dissolution using control treatments on two field experiments, MADOC reproduced responses of pH and DOC to additions of acidifying and alkalising solutions. Long-term trends in a range of acid waters were also reproduced. The model suggests that the sustained nature of observed DOC increases can best be explained by a continuously replenishing potentially-dissolved carbon pool, rather than dissolution of a large accumulated store. The simulations informed the development of hypotheses that: DOC increase is related to plant productivity increase as well as to pH change; DOC increases due to nitrogen pollution will become evident, and be sustained, after soil pH has stabilised.
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