The Effect of Wood Burial and Submersion on Decomposition: Implications for Reducing Carbon Emissions

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Date
2010
Authors
Adair, Jordan
Cicale, Marisa
Hofberg, Mark
Junghans, John
Kerrick, Heather
Luo, George
Mercado, Michael
Oliver, Samuel
O'Neill, Susan
Remer, Dan
Advisor
Zeng, Ning
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Abstract
Carbon cycles among soils, organisms, the atmosphere, water, and the Earth‘s crust. These fluxes make up a sizeable portion of the carbon cycle which holds potential for carbon sequestration. Team Carbon Sinks sought to sequester carbon in dead trees via burial and submersion. The team conducted a field experiment monitoring the decomposition of 125 wood samples. A lab experiment was completed to evaluate the variables that may affect decomposition in buried wood. Finally, a computer model was used to explore sequestration potential on a large scale. The field results showed that buried logs decomposed slower than exposed logs. The lab experiment suggested that wood should be buried as deep as possible, in a wet, cool area, and in oligotrophic soil in order to inhibit decomposition. The model showed that decomposition could be effectively inhibited via burial, and could serve as an economically feasible way to decrease atmospheric carbon dioxide.
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Gemstone Team Carbon Sinks
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