Life on earth is dependent on carbon and nutrient cycling.
Ecosystems rely upon the availability of organic and inorganic
matter for assimilation by living organisms. Organic materials
are decomposed and humified to accumulate organic matter
in soils. Mineralization and humification processes represent
the most important processes in the soil carbon cycle. During
decomposition nutrients and carbon gets available for plants,
animals and microorganisms and are incorporated in the soil
organic matter pool. Besides the continues delivery of carbon
and nutrients, soil organic matter improves the soil structure
through increasing the water holding capacity and increasing
the living conditions for all organisms in soils.
Humans set the natural balance of the soil carbon cycle under
stress by intensive use of land, harvesting plant material for
food, feed and other applications. Mostly, the residues of
these activities end up as ‘bio-waste’.