The distribution of organic matter (OM) in the soil profile reflects the balance between inputs and decomposition at different depths as well as transport of OM within the profile. In this study we modeled movement of OM in the soil profile as a result of mechanisms resulting in dispersive and advective movement. The model was used to interpret the distribution of C-14 in the soil profile 41 years after the labeling event. The model fitted the observed distribution of C-14 well (R-2 = 0.988, AIC(c) = -82.6), with a dispersion constant of D = 0.71 cm(2) yr(-1) and an advection constant of v = 0.0081 cm yr(-1). However, the model consistently underestimated the amount of OM in the soil layers from 27 to 37 cm depth. A possible explanation for this is that different fractions of OM are transported by different mechanisms. For example, particulate OM, organomineral colloids and dissolved OM are not likely to be transported by the same mechanisms. A model with two OM fractions, one moving exclusively by dispersive processes (D = 0.26 cm(2) yr(-1)) and another moving by both dispersive (D = 0.99 cm(2) yr(-1)) and advective (v = 0.23 cm yr(-1)) processes provided a slightly better fit to the data (R-2 = 0.995, AIC(c) = -83.6). More importantly, however, this model did not show the consistent underestimation from 27 to 37 cm soil depth. This corroborates the assumption that differing movement mechanisms for different OM fractions are responsible for the observed distribution of C-14 in the profile. However, varying dispersion, advection, and decay of OM with depth are also possible explanations. (c) 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 2007, Vol 39, Issue 1, p. 368-371