Soil nutrient cycles as a nonlinear dynamical system


Journal Article

An analytical model for the soil carbon and nitrogen cycles is studied from the dynamical system point of view. Its main nonlinearities and feedbacks are analyzed by considering the steady state solution under deterministic hydro-climatic conditions. It is shown that, changing hydroclimatic conditions, the system undergoes dynamical bifurcations, shifting from a stable focus to a stable node and back to a stable focus when going from dry, to well-watered, and then to saturated conditions, respectively. An alternative degenerate solution is also found in cases when the system can not sustain decomposition under steady external conditions. Different basins of attraction for "normal" and "degenerate" solutions are investigated as a function of the system initial conditions. Although preliminary and limited to the specific form of the model, the present analysis points out the importance of nonlinear dynamics in the soil nutrient cycles and their possible complex response to hydro-climatic forcing. © European Geosciences Union 2004.

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Manzoni, S; Porporato, A; D'Odorico, P; Laio, F; Rodriguez-Iturbe, I

Published Date

  • December 1, 2004

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 11 / 5-6

Start / End Page

  • 589 - 598

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1023-5809

Citation Source

  • Scopus