Compaction or bulk density of soil affects the release of carbon dioxide from soil. Carbon dioxide is produced as a byproduct of below-ground respiration from organisms such as plant roots, fungi, soil animals, bacteria and decomposers. Soil respiration and decomposition account for nearly 29% of all naturally produced atmospheric carbon dioxide. Worldwide this equates to roughly 220 billion tons of carbon emissions. In order to determine the correlation between anthropogenic soil compaction and soil CO2 flux, measurements were taken on Bowman Field, an area of Clemson University's campus known to host multiple large-scale social events each year. The soil CO2 flux dropped significantly after the conclusion of Homecoming 2014 and showed a slow recovery in the following ten weeks. The average soil CO2 flux from the field before the Homecoming event was 13.89 uM/m2/second. After the event, this average flux dropped to 2.15 uM/m2/second. These results demonstrate a negative relationship between anthropogenic soil compaction and natural CO2 flux.
Walters, Dana and Brame, Scott, "Changes in Soil CO2 Flux from an Urban Environment due to Anthropogenic Compaction" (2015). Focus on Creative Inquiry. 98.