Although significant amounts of organic carbon are present in soils, some of this is relatively inert. Soil organic matter is made up of different pools which vary in their turnover time or rate of decomposition. The labile pool, which turns over relatively rapidly (< 5 years), results from the addition of fresh residues such as plant roots and living organisms, whilst resistant residues which are physically or chemically protected are slower to turn over (20-40 years). The protected humus and charcoal components make up the stable soil organic matter pool which can take 00’s to 000’s of years to turnover.
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