Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Soil carbon

Microbes and global carbon


The amount of organic material that microbes assimilate into their biomass is critical in regulating whether soils, the planet's main pool of organic matter, will absorb or emit carbon in a warmer world.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Relevant articles

Open Access articles citing this article.

Access options

Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.

Figure 1: The stabilization of plant carbon into soil carbon as represented in Earth system models.


  1. Wieder, W. R., Bonan, G. B. & Allison, S. D. Nature Clim. Change 10.1038/nclimate1951 3, 909–912 (2013).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  2. Bonan, G. B., Oleson, K. W., Fisher, R. A., Lasslop, G. & Reichstein, M. J. Geophys. Res. 117, G02026 (2012).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Schimel, J. P. in Global Biogeochemical Cycles in the Climate System (eds Schulze, E-D. et al.) 177–183 (Academic, 2001).

    Book  Google Scholar 

  4. Tarnocai, C. et al. Glob. Biogeochem. Cycles 23, 1–11 (2009).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Moorhead, D. L., Lashermes, G. & Sinsabaugh, R. L. Soil Biol. Biochem. 53, 133–141 (2012).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  6. Koarashi, J., Hockaday, W. C., Masiello, C. A. & Trumbore, S. E. J. Geophys. Res. 117, G03033 (2012).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Li, X. et al. Geoderma 159, 440–451 (2010)

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Joshua Schimel.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Schimel, J. Microbes and global carbon. Nature Clim Change 3, 867–868 (2013).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

This article is cited by


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing