Scharpenseel, H.-W., Becker-Heidmann, P. (1994): Sustainable land use in the light of resilience/elasticity to soil organic matter fluctuations. – In: Greenland, D. J., Szabolcs, I. (Hg.): Soil resilience and sustainable land use, S. 249–264. CAB International, Wallingford, Oxon
The source-sink behaviour of the carbon cycle in the soil-plant system is characterized by fluctuations of considerable magnitude. The soil cover, which has probably existed since the end of the Permian glaciation (Dudal, 1990) is characterized mainly by its organic matter content. The level of organic matter in the soil is sustained by a harmonious supply of growth factors for biomass production and suitable soil temperature, moisture and pH (in wetlands also Eh) conditions as well as the nature of inorganic complexing matrices (mainly high activity (HAC) or low activity (LAC) clays or oxides) which are the main edaphic factors and major modifiers of soil organic matter (SOM) decomposition or humus stabilization. Finally erodability of the site has an important bearing in determining whether the soil is part of a more sustainable or more easily degradable ecosystem.