Retention and sequestration of soil organic matter is extremely important for the maintenance of soil structure, agricultural productivity and carbon sequestration. Research in soil organic matter has advanced on many fronts in the last half century. During this time understanding of the factors governing plant litter decomposition has increased considerably resulting in the formulation of process and organism-based models. Remote sensing has been shown to be useful for quickly monitoring stocks of soil organic carbon in the topsoil although much remains to be done to establish its efficacy. Fluxes of soil organic matter in the changing climatic scenarios have been studied though outcomes remain debatable. In this paper an attempt is made to present these various aspects of soil organic matter cohesively. The focus is mainly on litter decomposition, models and monitoring methods, role of soil aggregates and erosion, impact of climate change on long-term dynamics of soil organic matter and impending research themes needing further attention.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/george_malanson/26/