Climate Change and Its Impact on Soil Fertility and Life Forms

Climate Change and Its Impact on Soil Fertility and Life Forms

Trinath Biswal
Copyright: © 2021 |Pages: 26
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-4480-8.ch001
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Climate change can disturb the characteristics of the soil either indirectly, or directly, or both. The direct effects include changes in the soil properties and composition by organic carbon transformation, precipitation, temperature, and % of moisture. The indirect impact includes nutrient cycling, improved soil erosion rate due to an increase in rate and intensity of rainfall, irrigation facility, changes in the crop rotation, and spadework practices. The presence of soil organic carbon (SOC) greatly influenced by the climatic condition. The crop cultivation depends upon the exchange of carbon between the troposphere and soil, which also vastly influences the fertility of the soil. The use, development, and management of soil depend upon soil structure, soil texture, soil stability, water holding capacity of the soil, availability of the nutrients, and erosion of the soil. Hence, deterioration of soil fertility by climatic change may affect the several soil lifeforms like fauna and flora either directly, or indirectly through nutritional value of the soil.
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Soil is an important and also most ignored material over the surface of the earth, although it is indirectly responsible for the food source of the plants and animals. Carbon is an essential element for the existence of all living being on the globe and is the major constituent of both plants and animals. The ocean is the largest store of carbon and after that the second largest sink or store of carbon is soil. Due to climate change the carbon balance is disturbed and more carbon is stored in plants and soil because of agricultural productivity, and in accordance to that more carbon also released to the atmosphere, disturbing the equilibrium condition of the atmosphere(Henrysonet al., 2018;PatiandLamnganbi, 2018). The sustainable use of the land surface can restore the major ecosystem, which may probably alleviate and familiarize to the climate change. There is an interlink in between atmospheric carbon and soil carbon. During the process of photosynthesis, plant takes carbon from the atmosphere, but the carbon present at the atmosphere also affects the soil, because the percentage (%) of carbon, which is not only used for the growth of plantsabove the ground surface but also normally distributed into the roots of the plants and this carbon deposits in soil. If this carbon is not distributed properly, then it becomes stable and is locked for many years. Climate change something occurs within the atmosphere because of different climatic factors and healthy standard soil can able to mitigate climate change properly (Frazer, 2009). The largest pool of carbon, sulphur and nitrogen in terrestrial ecosystem is soil and it very closely involved the interlinking of human being in atmosphere and land. Soil is also the primary source in which human beings and animals depend upon their food, shelter dress materials, fuels etc. Hence the use of land in a sustainable manner is a vital factor that accountable for climate change and is the cause of major impact to the human population. The carbon storage capacity of all soils are not equal, it was observed that peat lands are the highest carbon containing soil in the universe and this kind of soil are mostly found in the UK, Ireland and some parts of northern Europe(Lori et al., 2017). The soil containing grasslands also contains higher % of carbon per hectare of land. The soil in dry and hot areas contains a less amount of carbon and these kinds of soils are specially found in the southern European countries. Due to rapid urbanization and industrial development, the amount of CO2 and other greenhouse gases are rapidly increasing within the troposphere, resulting the change in climate which causes an unfavourable situation of our society and in the terrestrial ecosystem. The unplanned management of soil by the human being is the cause of loss of bio-genic carbon from the biomass, which is one of a major cause of addition of CO2to the atmosphere(Pareek, 2017).The organic material present in the soil is the major nutrient source of the soil and it is the cause of increase in the water holding capacity of the soil, if the organic matter present in the soil decreases the quality of the soil and the agricultural productivity also accordingly decrease.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Active Carbon (AC): The fraction of the total soil organic carbon, which can be relatively metabolized easily or can be used effectively by microorganisms. The 50% of the active carbon generally range from a few weeks to a few years. Active carbons are mostly glucose and simple polysaccharides, which are equivalent to reducing sugars, proteins, amino acids, extractable carbon, and also biomass of microbial carbon, etc.

Carbon-Nitrogen Ratio (C/N): The ratio of the mass of the soil organic carbon to the mass of total nitrogen present in the soil, plants, or any other organic compounds called as C/N ration. Soil C/N is generally the ratio of 10:1for effective ecological functions.

Bacteria: A group of large number of microorganisms of single-celled with absence of prokaryotic and chlorophyll are called as bacteria having few micrometers in length. Bacteria have a wide range of shapes (rods and spirals). These species are more significant for the functioning of biochemical properties. These organisms are the cause of the recycling of nutrients. Decomposing of the organic matter, and detoxification of contaminants.

Soil Aggregates: The soil particles, including silt, sand and clay are always found together in a single cluster, such as block, crumb, clod or prism by using the organic matter as cementing material. Soil aggregates are usually greater than ten millimeters in diameter and formed by different natural forces and organic materials that are derived from root exudates, roots, soil animals and by-products of microbial communities.

Carbon Sequestration Index (Cindex): It is a new term which explains the simple and integrated index that recognizes the rate of the accumulation of carbon in the soil. The value of this index is a sensitive indicator of carbon or accumulation of soil organic matter and helps in explaining the complex nature of global carbon cycling.

Anaerobic: The absence of oxygen or the process operating without oxygen. The clay materials Soils compacted soil, wet or flooded soil tend to be anaerobic because these categories of soils are less oxygenated to do oxidative reactions.

Aerobic: The term aerobic means the presence of oxygen or plants growing in the existence of oxygen. The aerobic soils possess huge amounts of oxygenated air for oxidative reactions mainly of nutrient cycling and decomposition of soil organic matter.

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