Soil organic matter (SOM) plays a vital role not only in soil fertility and quality (by providing a number of physical, chemical, and biological benefits), but also in carbon cycling. SOM contains a vast range of diverse organic structures, and also a living component (microorganisms) with various residence times that define the central role SOM plays in the soil. The decline of SOM represents one of the most serious threats facing many arable lands of the world. One of the efficient approaches to increase SOM content and decrease land degradation is the application of organic amendments, such as crop residues and animal manures. Nowadays, organic amendments originate from many kinds of organic wastes, which are being increasingly produced mainly by farms, agro-food industries, municipalities, and energy plants. Besides serving as a source of organic matter and plant nutrients, these materials may contribute to reduce soil contamination, erosion, and desertification, as well as mitigate climate change. At the same time, a safe and useful application of organic amendments requires an in-depth scientific knowledge of their nature and impacts on the SOM pools and factions, soil-plant system, as well as on the surrounding environment.
This session will combine the current research and recent advances on the use of organic amendments in modern agriculture as well as for the restoration of degraded soils. Special attention will be given to the soil chemical, physical, biological and biochemical aspects, including tracing the dynamics of SOM pools and fractions by using 13C/14C/15N/33P/18O isotopes. Field and laboratory studies focused on the effects of management practices, climate change, environmental conditions, soil properties are highly welcome. We also encourage contributors to present and discuss analytical challenges that remain due to environmental and analytical uncertainty.
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