Figure 4.5: Conceptual
model of soil organic matter decomposition and accumulation following disturbance
(after Johnson, 1995; IPCC, 2000a). At steady state (I), carbon (C) inputs from
litter (L) equal C losses via decomposition (D) (i.e., L/D = 1). After a disturbance,
D often exceeds L resulting in loss of C (II), until a new, lower steady state
is reached (III). Adoption of new management, where L exceeds D results in a re-accumulation
of C (IV) until a new, higher steady state is reached (V). The eventual steady
state (A, B, or C) depends on the new management adopted.