Century can be configured to simulate microcosms as litter bag decomposition and soil incubations at constant temperature and soil moisture. This option will simulate the dynamics of soil organic matter and nutrient mineralization, and surface or buried litter, under constant soil temperature and soil water conditions. Plant growth does not occur during the incubation. Rainfall is not allowed, and PET is constant at 15.0 cm month-1. Since soil water content is constant, no irrigation can be applied.
The soil temperature (MCTEMP, site management) is the only abiotic input parameter; it is specified in the schedule file. To simulate a litter bag simulation you would specify the initial litter level (CLITTR, site parameters) and C:N, C:P and C:S ratio of the litter (RCELIT, site parameters). The lignin content of the litter bag (FLIGNI, crop parameters) would be specified for either above- or belowground material depending on the placement of the bag. Incubation of the soil occurs in a similar manner by initializing all of the soil variables. Some of the options include fertilization, cultivations (mixing of the soil) and the addition of new labeled or unlabeled plant material during the incubations.
Microcosm simulation is specified in the site management.
Soil Organic Matter Submodel
Site Parameters for Initial Organic Matter Values