EGU General Assembly 2020
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Biological weathering by the Devonian trees

Lukasz Pawlik, Brian Buma, Pavel Samonil, Jiri Kvacek, Anna Galazka, Petr Kohout, and Ireneusz Malik
Lukasz Pawlik et al.
  • University of Silesia in Katowice, Institute of Earth Sciences, Sosnowiec, Poland (

We applied the biogeomorphic ecosystem engineers concept to the Devonian Plant Hypotheses. By linking these two ideas we want to explore how recent discoveries on the role of trees in weathering processes could support the explanation of global environmental changes in the Devonian period. The occurrence of first land plants, vascular plants, trees, and complex forest ecosystems likely changed the nature and pace of many geomorphic and pedogenic processes. For instance, intensification of biological weathering driven by vascular plants might have influenced the global climate through consumption and accumulation of a large volume of atmospheric CO2. Innovation in the form and function of trees likely strongly influenced these processes, including soil stabilization via deep root systems. Mycorrhizal relationships further influenced weathering via chemical processes. While the lack of solid evidence in the fossil record still pose a problem, the progress in our understanding of soil-weathering processes induced by trees and root systems has expanded greatly in recent years, especially in terms of their biogeomorphic functions (e.g. tree uprooting, pedoturbations, biomechanical weathering, etc.), and can provide insights and testable hypotheses regarding the role of trees in the Late Devonian.

How to cite: Pawlik, L., Buma, B., Samonil, P., Kvacek, J., Galazka, A., Kohout, P., and Malik, I.: Biological weathering by the Devonian trees, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-3162,, 2020


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