Carbon cycling in the riparian zone – mineralization and export

Last changed: 01 September 2020

The "aquatic conduit" of C export from the terrestrial landscape has been identified as a key factor in estimating the ability to sequester carbon in soils.

The carbon mineralized in organic rich, riparian soils and exported to streams as CO2 has recently been recognized as a new, and possibly very large component of the aquatic conduit. Field measurements of the CO2 in the near stream zone can be used to create an estimate of this important new component of the carbon cycle. Data exists to be analyzed and evaluated. One question is whether enough C exists in the riparian zone to support the large estimates of C exported from this zone.