Giacomo Certini

Giacomo Certini
Università di Firenze, Firenze, Italy · Dipartimento di Scienze e Tecnologie Agrarie, Alimentari, Ambientali e Forestali (DAGRI)

Ph.D. in Soil Science
Professor of Pedology

About

123
Publications
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Publications

Publications (123)
Article
Full-text available
Fire is a very common disturbance in terrestrial ecosystems and can give rise to significant effects on soil carbon (C) cycling and storage. Here, we conducted a global meta-analysis on the response of soil C cycling and storage across soil profiles (organic layer, 0-5 cm, 0-10 cm, 0-20 cm, and 20-100 cm) to fire reported in 308 studies across 383...
Article
Full-text available
Species interactions in mixed plantations can influence tree growth, resources capture and soil fertility of the stands. A combined approach of tree-ring analyses and carbon stable isotope was used to check tree growth and water use efficiency of two species, Populus alba L. and Juglans regia L., intercropped with each other and with N-fixing or co...
Article
Full-text available
Litter decomposition is a key process for carbon and nutrient cycling in terrestrial ecosystems and is mainly controlled by environmental conditions, substrate quantity, and quality as well as microbial community abundance and composition. In particular, the effects of climate and atmospheric nitrogen (N) deposition on litter decomposition and its...
Article
Full-text available
Tree planting on abandoned agricultural land could both restore the soil quality and increase the productivity of economically valuable woody species. Here, we assess the impact of mixed-species tree plantations on soil quality at a site in Central Italy where tree intercropping systems were established 20 years ago on a former agricultural land. T...
Article
Fire has always been a driving factor of life on Earth. Now that mankind has definitely joined the other environmental forces in shaping the planet, lots of species are threatened by human-induced variation in fire regimes. Soil-dwelling organisms, i.e., those organisms that primarily live in soil, suffer the numerous and different consequences of...
Article
We tested the “home-field advantage” hypothesis, i.e. that leaves decay faster under the parent tree species in European beech, Douglas fir, and Turkey oak stands in a mountain forest in Italy. The fate of buried leaves in litterbags was monitored for one year to document their carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) dynamics, chemical structure, and associate...
Article
Humans act at worldwide scale as a growing geomorphic agent since mid‐Holocene (8,200–4,200 y BP) through the pervasive impacts of domestication, deforestation, agriculture, urbanization, and mining. The concept of Anthropocene has been introduced exactly to indicate the timespan in which humans have joined with other natural forces in impacting th...
Article
The legacy of charcoal making, an old and widespread forest exploitation activity, is a plethora of charcoal hearth (CH) soils that occur all around the world with peculiar features, the main of which is a top, thick, black, charcoal-rich horizon. Being substantially due to human activity, these soils are anthropogenic or “human-altered and human-t...
Article
The heavy machines used in forest operations not only cause reduction of the total amount of soil pores but also drastically modify their size distribution. The effects in these terms of repeated passages of a tracked skidder and a wheeled one of quite similar size were evaluated in a forest of central Italy. In particular, we focused on macro-aggr...
Article
Anticipated human missions to Mars require a methodical understanding of the unconsolidated bulk sediment that mantles its surface, given its role as an accessible resource for water and as a probable substrate for food production. However, classifying martian sediment as soil has been pursued in an ad-hoc fashion, despite emerging evidence from in...
Article
Full-text available
The number of spots to monitor to evaluate soil respiration (Rs) is often chosen on an empirical or conventional basis. To obtain an insight into the necessary number of spots to account for Rs variability in a Mediterranean pine-dominated mixed forest, we measured Rs all year long on sixteen dates with a portable gas-analyser in 50 spots per date...
Article
The practice of “cyanobacterization” (soil inoculation with cyanobacteria) has been shown to be effective in increasing soil fertility and physical stability in natural and agricultural soils, but little is known about its utility for the recovery of burned soils. To partly fill this knowledge gap, we inoculated two cyanobacterial species, Phormidi...
Article
Full-text available
Wildfires are a driving factor of forest soils and their biota, especially in fire-prone ecosystems. Fire effects on soil microbial community are complex and still largely unknown. Greater knowledge is needed as fire frequency is expected to increase with human-induced climate change. This study aims at assessing the effects of a single moderately...
Article
The composition and turnover time (TT)of organic matter in soil fractions with different magnetic susceptibility were studied in a tropical primary forest in Ghana. The starting hypothesis was that soil organic matter (SOM)composition and properties depend on the magnetic susceptibility of the minerals SOM is associated with. Soil samples from 0 to...
Article
Short-term fire-induced changes to the soil microbial community are usually closely associated to fire severity, which essentially consists in the fire-induced loss or decomposition of organic matter above ground and below ground. Many functional processes and soil properties, including plant recolonization and soil microorganism activity, depend o...
Article
Advection fog is the sole source of water for many near-the-sea arid areas worldwide such as the lomas, i.e. fog-dependant landscapes of the coastal zone of Peru and Northern Chile, where deforestation occurred since 16th century, leading to a progressive and severe desertification. There, today’s local socio-ecological systems suffer from lack of...
Article
Although fire is an intrinsic factor in most terrestrial biomes, it is often perceived as a negative disturbance that must be suppressed. The application of successful fire prevention policies can lead to unsustainable fire events for ecosystems adapted to a specific fire regime. In addition, new climate and land use scenarios are influencing fire...
Article
Fire is an ecological factor in ecosystems around the world, made increasingly more critical by unprecedented shifts in climate and human population pressure. The knowledge gradually acquired on the subject is needed to improve fire behaviour understanding and to enhance fire management decision-making. This issue (Volume 28, issue 7, International...
Article
Glomalin-related soil proteins (GRSP) are glycoproteins abundantly produced by arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi in roots and soil. They can be a significant component of soil organic matter, which effectively acts to bind mineral particles together, so improving soil structure. Although it is known that high temperatures and tillage both have a negativ...
Poster
Full-text available
With interplanetary exploration having picked up momentum in recent years, driven by scientific and economic interests (Elvis, 2012), planet Mars is a top priority for future potentially manned missions. Since the first missions in the late 1970s, multiple landers and rovers have delivered data and new knowledge on Mars’ atmosphere, topography, and...
Article
Full-text available
Cyanobacteria are ubiquitous components of biocrust communities and the first colonizers of terrestrial ecosystems. They play multiple roles in the soil by fixing C and N and synthesizing exopolysaccharides, which increase soil fertility and water retention and improve soil structure and stability. Application of cyanobacteria as inoculants to prom...
Article
Sardinia (Italy), the second largest island of the Mediterranean Sea, is a fire-prone land. Most Sardinian environments over time were shaped by fire, but some of them are too intrinsically fragile to withstand the currently increasing fire frequency. Calcareous pedoenvironments represent a significant part of Mediterranean areas, and require impor...
Article
Full-text available
Charcoal production in forests is one of the oldest forms of forest exploitation. The legacy of such once widespread activity is a plethora of relic charcoal hearths (RCHs1), where soil shows a thick, black, charcoal-rich top horizon. Even where very common, such as in European forests, RCHs were rarely studied to assess their relevance as C reserv...
Chapter
This article aims to support the Anthropogenic soils, the ones markedly affected by human activities, as the most meaningful marker for the onset of the Anthropocene. Although diachronous and not uniformly distributed throughout the world, these soils in fact show more prominently and potentially longer in time than other proposed markers for the i...
Article
Full-text available
Increased mineralization of the organic matter (OM) stored in permafrost is expected to constitute the largest additional global warming potential from terrestrial ecosystems exposed to a warmer climate. Chemical composition of permafrost OM is thought to be a key factor controlling the sensitivity of decomposition to warming. Our objective was to...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Charcoal production in forests is one of the oldest human activities in Italy and the other European countries. Here, 3 thousand years ago civilizations were already used to convert wood into charcoal for energetic and metallurgic purposes. The technique for making charcoal remained substantially unchanged in time: wood piles covered with turf were...
Article
Full-text available
Charcoal is a heterogeneous material exhibiting a diverse range of properties. This variability represents a serious challenge in studies that use the properties of natural charcoal for reconstructing wildfires history in terrestrial ecosystems. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that particle size is a sufficiently robust indicator for separa...
Article
The effects of fire and the conversion to vineyard on soil organic carbon (SOC), and soil aggregate size distribution and stability were studied in a forest of Iran. For this purpose, topsoil was sampled in an unburned area, a portion of the forest burned three years earlier, and a vineyard, all three contiguous and showing similar topographic feat...
Article
Full-text available
The amount of soil organic carbon (SOC) released into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide (CO2), which is referred to as heterotrophic respiration (Rh), is technically difficult to measure despite its necessity to the understanding of how to protect and increase soil carbon stocks. Within this context, the aim of this study is to determine Rh in two M...
Article
In their Perspective “Defining the epoch we live in” (3 April, p. [38][1]), W. F. Ruddiman et al. write that in spite of its popularity, the Anthropocene still lacks an official onset. They propose that the term anthropocene be used informally (without the initial capital), which would avoid the
Article
Crop and land management practices affect both the quality and quantity of soil organic matter (SOM) and hence are driving forces for soil organic carbon (SOC) sequestration. The objective of this study was to assess the long-term effects of tillage, fertilizer application and crop rotation on SOC in an agricultural area of southern Norway, where a...
Article
Full-text available
Soils are subject to direct and indirect effects of fire. As a result of global warming, we have to expect an increase of fire frequency and intensity. Soil organic matter (SOM) is the most affected component, in terms of both content and composition. SOM alteration depends on the degree of soil heating that in turn depends mostly on fire intensity...
Article
Full-text available
Damage to forest soil caused by vehicle traffic mainly consists of soil compaction, displacement, and rut formation. Severity of the damage depends on vehicle mass, weight of the carried loads, ground morphology, and soil properties, such as moisture. This paper investigates the impacts of two types of vehicles (tracked or wheeled tractor), traffic...
Article
Soil under six different land uses on Pianosa Island, in the Mediterranean Sea, was characterized in terms of microbial activity and organic matter quality, in order to define relationships between living and dead organic matter. Biological measurements and chemical and spectroscopic (13C NMR and FTIR) investigation of the extracted soil organic ma...
Article
Forest soils can suffer from various threats, some of which are human induced. Although mechanized harvesting allows for high productivity, it may also seriously damage forest soils. In recent decades, the use of powerful and heavy machinery in forest management has increased exponentially. The extent, degree, and duration of direct and indirect ef...
Article
Full-text available
Norwegian heathland soils, although scant and shallow, are major reservoirs of carbon (C). We aimed at assessing whether vegetation cover and, indirectly, its driving factor soil drainage are good proxies for soil organic matter (SOM) composition and dynamics in a typical heathland area of southern Norway consisting in a patchwork of three differen...
Article
Full-text available
Purpose Pyrogenic organic matter (PyOM) in the soil of a maritime pine forest in Central Italy, formed during a fire of high severity, was characterised by Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) and 13C nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR). Furthermore, soil samples from burnt and unburnt sampling sites and natural charcoal collected from the ground were c...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Mechanized ground-based logging methods are widely used today, in flat or slightly sloping terrains, since they generally provide a safe work environment and high labor productivity. The heavy loads of vehicles imply considerable vertical and horizontal stress to soil, which often undergoes compaction and, as a consequence, other forms of degradati...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The use of slash-and-burn in farming and grazing practices is still one of the factors driving landscape ecology and dynamics in the greater part of Amazonia. The slash-and-burn events start, traditionally, during the late austral dry winter, at the very first beginning of rainy season (August to October). This pattern changed dramatically in the l...
Article
Thinning is a crucial operation in forest management, which has important effects also on understory, fauna and soil. We assessed the impact of semi-mechanized logging systems on standing trees, soil physical characteristics, and forest regeneration in a pine plantation of Central Italy. Four methods were investigated: winching uphill by forestry-f...
Article
Full-text available
Norwegian heathland soils, although scant and shallow, are major reservoirs of carbon (C). We aimed at assessing whether vegetation cover and, indirectly, its driving factor soil drainage are good proxies for soil organic matter (SOM) composition and dynamics in a typical heathland area of Southern Norway consisting in a patchwork of three differen...
Article
Soil is a natural resource essential to human welfare by virtue of its numerous crucial functions. In the past, soil has been taken for granted because of its widespread, albeit finite, availability. However, now that world’s population is projected to exceed ten billion before the end of this century, soil is increas- ingly perceived as a precious...
Chapter
Full-text available
DefinitionGeometric pattern of the ground, determined by the arrangement of stones formed by the sorting of clasts from fine-grained sediments in freeze–thaw cycles (Gallagher et al. 2011).A type of patterned ground (periglacial landforms).DescriptionSurface area displaying a self-organized quasi-regular repeated pattern resulting from active frost...
Article
Scientists are actively debating whether the Anthropocene, the geologic time span (GTS) we are now living in, should be considered a period, epoch, or age in the geologic timescale. The solution is not easy, because the beginning of this GTS is undefined and the end unknown. In fact, there is no agreement on when the Anthropocene began, the propose...
Article
Highlights ► A universally accepted definition of soil is missing since the birth of soil science. ► The boundary between what is soil and what is not soil is still a matter of debate. ► Can the loose surfaces of the other rocky bodies of our Solar System be considered real soils? ► A definition of soil that represents a reliable term also for Oute...
Article
One of the most dramatic ways humans can affect soil properties is through the performance of military activities. Warfare-induced disturbances to soil are basically of three types – physical, chemical, and biological – and are aimed at causing direct problems to enemies or, more often, are indirect, undesired ramifications. Physical disturbances t...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
La compattazione del suolo è una delle conseguenze più comuni delle utilizzazioni forestali. Questa è provocata dalla combinazione di carichi applicati e vibrazioni al passaggio dei veicoli, ed è ovviamente favorita da determinate condizioni ambientali e caratteristiche del suolo. La compattazione è una forma di degradazione del suolo, anche in ter...
Article
In the span of a human generation, fire can, in theory, impact all the land covered by vegetation. Its occurrence has many important direct and indirect effects on soil, some of which are long-lasting or even permanent. As a consequence, fire must be considered a soil-forming factor, on par with the others traditionally recognized, namely: parent m...
Article
Full-text available
In relation to climate change effects on forest ecosystem, the frequency of fire events represents one of the most drastically events that are expected to increase in the future, not only in the Mediterranean basin but also in not traditionally interested areas. The fire impact on soil ecosystem has been only recently considered in relation to its...
Article
Thinning is a crucial practice in forest management. There is, however, a dearth of studies that focus on the effects of thinning carried out by modern heavy machinery on the physical properties of soil. We studied the consequences of thinning in two pine forests in Central Italy. The ‘‘full tree system’’ (FTS) to convert the whole biomass into chi...
Article
In this chapter, we have applied the diffuse reflectance FT-IR spectroscopy to study the organic matter structure of three fractions of charcoal (o 1-2, o 1-0.5 and o <0.5 mm) from a burnt Pinus pinea forest. Curve fitting of different models was chosen to investigate the overlapped peaks. The best fit was reached with pure Gaussian model. This pro...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Fire events generally are considered as a major disturbance factor in forest ecosystems. The high temperatures may irreversibly alter physical, chemical, and biological soil properties. Fire can totally oxidise soil organic matter (SOM), however, under environmental conditions, the combustion is often incomplete, leading to formation of rearranged...
Article
The determination of soil organic matter (SOM) composition relies on a variety of chemical and physical methods, most of them time consuming and expensive. Hitherto, such methodological limitations have hampered the use of detailed SOM composition in process-based models of SOM dynamics, which usually include only three poorly defined carbon pools....
Article
We estimated the heterotrophic component (Rh) of soil respiration in a primary forest of Ghana by radiocarbon dating, a method we already successfully applied in temperate and Mediterranean forests. In this case, given the advanced stage of alteration of tropical soils, which are thus rich in oxides, we implemented the method on soil fractions obta...
Book
Full-text available
Climate and biodiversity. Monitoring experiences in Alpine Environment. Available at http://www.arpa.piemonte.gov.it/pubblicazioni-2/pubblicazioni-anno-2012/clima-e-biodiversita
Article
Charcoal fragments in soils are useful to reconstruct past vegetation because the level of preservation is often good enough to determine the tree genus. All forest ecosystems have the potential to burn as a result of naturally occurring or human-induced fires. Forest fires are coupled to climate and are a not-negligible factor of pedogenesis in Me...
Article
We propose that the Anthropocene be defined as the last c. 2000 years of the late Holocene and characterized on the basis of anthropogenic soils. This contrasts with the original definition of the Anthropocene as the last c. 250 years (since the Industrial Revolution) and more recent proposals that the Anthropocene began some 5000 to 8000 years ago...
Article
Pine forests bordering the Mediterranean Sea are often affected by severe wildfires, which cause major changes to soil organic matter (SOM). In this paper, recently burned and adjacent unburned areas of two coastal pine forests of Tuscany, Central Italy, were compared in terms of SOM quantity and quality to assess the nature and intensity of such f...
Article
Full-text available
The contribution of decomposing soil organic carbon (SOC) to total annual soil respiration (SR) was evaluated by radiocarbon measurements at a Scots pine stand growing on a plaggen soil in the Belgian Campine region. Two approaches were used to estimate the contribution of different C pools to SR. In the first approach, the variations in 14C conten...
Article
The purpose of the present work is to asses the possibility of detecting changes in soil organic carbon (SOC) at the end of the 5-years of the first Commitment Period (CP) of the Kyoto Protocol of the United Nation’s Framework Convention on Climate Change (1 January, 2008–31 December, 2012), by both direct measurement and the use of an opportunely...