National Soil Carbon Network

Carbon and its association with soil organic matter play a critical role in providing a medium for plant growth through their influence on soil structure and function. Soil carbon is also a significant component of the global carbon budget; it is the largest terrestrial carbon pool and about twice as large as that contained in the atmosphere. Forest and agricultural management practices can alter the amount and dynamics of carbon in soil, yet soil carbon responses to management are difficult to predict from one site to another.

The National Soil Carbon Network (NSCN) was developed to improve the understanding of soil carbon dynamics across the United States by assembling databases, identifying and filling gaps in data coverage, and through modeling and experimentation. Specific goals of the NSCN are to 1) coordinate soil carbon observation, archiving, experimentation, and modeling; 2) understand the relationship between soil carbon and ecosystem services; 3) forecast soil carbon vulnerability under changing climate, land use, and other disturbance; and 4) contribute to organizing and communicating this information for land managers, modelers, and policy makers.

General membership in the NSCN is open to all scientists and users committed to documenting, evaluating, and sharing information relating to soil carbon dynamics in the US. Members have access to NSCN databases and may apply for access to shared infrastructure. Membership will result from contributions to the network, such as sharing of data and information, laboratory and field-oriented infrastructure, soil archives, and the development of network synthesis products. Scientific leadership for the NSCN is coordinated by the NSCN Scientific Steering Group, which is chaired by Dr. Christopher Swanston of the US Forest Service Northern Research Station. The network coordinator is Dr. Lucas Nave of the University of Michigan Biological Station. Dr. Eric Vance of NCASI serves on the Scientific Steering Group. More information on the NSCN can be obtained at www.soilcarb.net. 

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