1Dead Sea and Arava Science Center, Mt. Masada, Tamar Regional Council, 86910 Tamar, Israel
2Eilat Campus, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Hatmarim Blv, 8855630 Eilat, Israel
3Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF), 15374 Müncheberg, Germany
4Department of Soil Environment Sciences, Warsaw University of Life Sciences (SGGW), 02776 Warsaw, Poland
5Department of Soil Science and Agricultural Chemistry, University of Agricultural Sciences, GKVK, Bangalore 560065, India.
Published in: Plants 2021, 10(4), 652; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10040652
Plants’ ability to take up silicon from the soil, accumulate it within their tissues and then reincorporate it into the soil through litter creates an intricate network of feedback mechanisms in ecosystems. Here, we provide a concise review of silicon’s roles in soil chemistry and physics and in plant physiology and ecology, focusing on the processes that form these feedback mechanisms. Through this review and analysis, we demonstrate how this feedback network drives ecosystem processes and affects ecosystem functioning. Consequently, we show that Si uptake and accumulation by plants is involved in several ecosystem services like soil appropriation, biomass supply, and carbon sequestration. Considering the demand for food of an increasing global population and the challenges of climate change, a detailed understanding of the underlying processes of these ecosystem services is of prime importance. Silicon and its role in ecosystem functioning and services thus should be the main focus of future research.
Keywords: silicon; soil; plants; cycling; ecosystem; services; feedback