My focus was on soil structural effects... in a nutshell, the process
of decomposition/microbial activity is very important to aggregate
formation and stabilization... a majority of studies seemed to show that
more labile organic substrates had greater formation and stabilization
effects (both short and long term in some cases) than materials that were
more recalcitrant like a mature compost...
The issue of differences in carbon sequestration was not discussed in many
articles... I continue to ponder this issue and I tend to feel that
decomposition in intimate contact with mineral surfaces is a very
important feature in the formation of chemically and physically protected
soil organic matter. Thus I think that unless you are adding lots of
soil/clay to your compost you will be losing more C than if you let the
decompostion take place on or in soil. However tilling/incorporating
materials into soil, fractures aggregates, increases soil aeration... and
thus promotes loss of indigenous SOM... its a tricky question...
I think the reduced volume, and homogenized consistency of good compost
makes it a superior material for handling and that is very desireable for
Our literature sits almost finished somewhere in Dr. Weils office... I
suppose we could send an unfinished copy to someone with a deep interest
in the subject...
U of MD, Soil Quality research
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