Process understanding of soil BVOC fluxes in natural ecosystems: a review

Research output: Contribution to journalReviewResearchpeer-review


Biogenic volatile organic compounds (BVOCs) can be released from soils to the atmosphere through microbial decomposition of plant residues or soil organic carbon, root emission, evaporation of litter-stored BVOCs, and other physical processes. Soils can also act as a sink of BVOCs through biotic and abiotic uptake. Currently, the source and sink capabilities of soils have not been explicitly accounted for in global BVOC estimates from the terrestrial biosphere. In this review, we summarize the current knowledge of soil BVOC processes and aim to propose a generic framework for modelling soil BVOCs based on current understanding and data availability. To achieve this target, we start by reviewing measured sources and sinks of soil BVOCs and summarize commonly reported compounds. Next, we strive to disentangle the drivers for the underlying biotic and abiotic processes. We have ranked the list of compounds, known to be emitted from soils, based on our current understanding of how each process controls emission and uptake. We then present a modelling framework to describe soil BVOC emissions. The proposed framework is an important step towards initializing modelling exercises related to soil BVOC fluxes. Finally, we also provide suggestions for measurements needed to separate individual processes, as well as explore long-term and large-scale patterns in soil BVOC fluxes.
Original languageEnglish
JournalReviews of Geophysics
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)966-986
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Bibliographical note


Number of downloads are based on statistics from Google Scholar and

No data available

ID: 224941099