Soil networks become more connected and take up more carbon as nature restoration progresses

E. Morriën (Corresponding author), S.E. Hannula, Basten Snoek, N.R. Helmsing, H. Zweers, M. De Hollander, Raquel Lujan Soto, M.L. Bouffaud, M. Buée, Wim Dimmers, H. Duyts, S. Geisen, M. Girlanda, R.I. Griffiths, H-B. Jørgensen, J. Jensen, Pierre Plassart, Dirk Redecker, R.M. Schmelz, O. SchmidtB.C. Thomson, Emilie Tisserant, S. Uroz, A. Winding, M.J. Bailey, M. Bonkowski, Jack H. Faber, F. Martin, P. Lemanceau, W. De Boer, Hans van Veen, W.H. van der Putten

Research output: Contribution to journal/periodicalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Soil organisms have an important role in aboveground community dynamics and ecosystem functioning in terrestrial ecosystems. However, most studies have considered soil biota as a black box or focussed on specific groups, whereas little is known about entire soil networks. Here we show that during the course of nature restoration on abandoned arable land a compositional shift in soil biota, preceded by tightening of the belowground networks, corresponds with enhanced efficiency of carbon uptake. In mid- and long-term abandoned field soil, carbon uptake by fungi increases without an increase in fungal biomass or shift in bacterial-to-fungal ratio. The implication of our findings is that during nature restoration the efficiency of nutrient cycling and carbon uptake can increase by a shift in fungal composition and/or fungal activity. Therefore, we propose that relationships between soil food web structure and carbon cycling in soils need to be reconsidered
Original languageEnglish
Article number14349
JournalNature Communications
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • international

Research theme

  • Restoration ecology


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