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Soil Syst., Volume 3, Issue 1 (March 2019)

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Open AccessArticle
Mobility of Metals in Sediments Contaminated with Historical Mining Wastes: Example from the Tri-State Mining District, USA
Received: 20 February 2019 / Revised: 20 March 2019 / Accepted: 21 March 2019 / Published: 23 March 2019
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Abstract
The Tri-State Mining District (TSMD) of Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma was a world class zinc (Zn) and lead (Pb) producer. Mining ceased in the 1950s, leaving behind a large amount of mine wastes. Although much of the affected areas have been remediated, stream [...] Read more.
The Tri-State Mining District (TSMD) of Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma was a world class zinc (Zn) and lead (Pb) producer. Mining ceased in the 1950s, leaving behind a large amount of mine wastes. Although much of the affected areas have been remediated, stream sediments may still contain toxic levels of these metals. The mobility of the metals was determined for sediment samples from Turkey Creek, Missouri. The median values of the metal content were 2700 mg/kg Zn, 161 mg/kg Pb, and 10.8 mg/kg Cd. These concentrations marginally surpass the sediment quality guidelines that differentiate between toxic and nontoxic conditions. Mobility was determined by sequential extraction of two phases—bioavailable and Fe-oxides. The fraction of the metal available to biota was 7.7% for Zn, 5.0% for Cd, and 0.4% for Pb, whereas the Fe-oxide fraction retained 25% of Zn, 21% of Pb, and 35% Cd. These values roughly agree with the values reported for other areas of the TSMD. Fractionation provides an estimate of the amount of metal available at the present conditions and gives the amount of metal available should the pH and/or Eh vary. The methodology puts an emphasis on ecosystem health and can be applied to other areas where Zn–Pb concentrations in soils and sediments are a concern. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Abiotic and Biotic Factors Influencing the Effect of Microplastic on Soil Aggregation
Received: 16 February 2019 / Revised: 7 March 2019 / Accepted: 15 March 2019 / Published: 22 March 2019
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Abstract
Plastic is an anthropogenic, ubiquitous and persistent contaminant accumulating in our environment. The consequences of the presence of plastics for soils, including soil biota and the processes they drive, are largely unknown. This is particularly true for microplastic. There is only little data [...] Read more.
Plastic is an anthropogenic, ubiquitous and persistent contaminant accumulating in our environment. The consequences of the presence of plastics for soils, including soil biota and the processes they drive, are largely unknown. This is particularly true for microplastic. There is only little data available on the effect of microplastics on key soil processes, including soil aggregation. Here, we investigated the consequences of polyester microfiber contamination on soil aggregation of a sandy soil under laboratory conditions. We aimed to test if the microfiber effects on soil aggregation were predominantly physical or biological. We found that soil biota addition (compared to sterile soil) had a significant positive effect on both the formation and stabilization of soil aggregates, as expected, while wet-dry cycles solely affected aggregate formation. Polyester microfiber contamination did not affect the formation and stability of aggregates. But in the presence of soil biota, microfibers reduced soil aggregate stability. Our results show that polyester microfibers have the potential to alter soil structure, and that these effects are at least partially mediated by soil biota. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Phosphate Sorption Speciation and Precipitation Mechanisms on Amorphous Aluminum Hydroxide
Received: 14 January 2019 / Revised: 27 February 2019 / Accepted: 13 March 2019 / Published: 20 March 2019
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Abstract
Aluminum (Al) oxides are important adsorbents for phosphate in soils and sediments, and significantly limit Phosphate (P) mobility and bioavailability, but the speciation of surface-adsorbed phosphate on Al oxides remains poorly understood. Here, phosphate sorption speciation on amorphous Al hydroxide (AAH) was determined [...] Read more.
Aluminum (Al) oxides are important adsorbents for phosphate in soils and sediments, and significantly limit Phosphate (P) mobility and bioavailability, but the speciation of surface-adsorbed phosphate on Al oxides remains poorly understood. Here, phosphate sorption speciation on amorphous Al hydroxide (AAH) was determined under pH 3–8 and P concentration of 0.03 mM–15 mM using various spectroscopic approaches, and phosphate precipitation mechanisms were discussed as well. AAH exhibits an extremely high phosphate sorption capacity, increasing from 3.80 mmol/g at pH 7 to 4.63 mmol/g at pH 3. Regardless of reaction pH, with increasing P sorption loading, the sorption mechanism transits from bidentate binuclear (BB) surface complexation with dP-Al of 3.12 Å to surface precipitation of analogous amorphous AlPO4 (AAP), possibly with ternary complexes, such as (≡Al-O)2-PO2-Al, as intermediate products. Additionally, the percentage of precipitated phosphate occurring in AAP linearly and positively correlates with P sorption loading. Compared to phosphate reaction with ferrihydrite, phosphate adsorbs and precipitates more readily on AAH due to the higher solubility product (Ksp) of AAH. The formation of AAP particles involves AlIII release, which is promoted by phosphate adsorption, and its subsequent precipitation with phosphate at AAH surfaces or in the bulk solution. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Using Synchrotron Radiation to Perform Phosphate Speciation in Soils)
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Open AccessArticle
Digital Mapping of Habitat for Plant Communities Based on Soil Functions: A Case Study in the Virgin Forest-Steppe of Russia
Received: 14 December 2018 / Revised: 4 March 2019 / Accepted: 6 March 2019 / Published: 9 March 2019
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Abstract
The spatial structure of the habitat for plant communities based on soil functions in virgin forest-steppe of the Central Russian Upland is the focus of this study. The objectives include the identification of the leading factors of soil function variety and to determine [...] Read more.
The spatial structure of the habitat for plant communities based on soil functions in virgin forest-steppe of the Central Russian Upland is the focus of this study. The objectives include the identification of the leading factors of soil function variety and to determine the spatial heterogeneity of the soil function. A detailed topographic survey was carried out on a key site (35 hectares), 157 soil, and 34 geobotanical descriptions were made. The main factor of soil and plant cover differentiation is the redistribution of soil moisture along the microrelief. Redistributed runoff value was modelled in SIMWE and used as a tool for spatial prediction of soils due to their role in a habitat for plant communities’ functional context. The main methods of the study are the multidimensional scaling and discriminant analysis. We model the composition of plant communities (accuracy is 95%) and Reference Soil Group (accuracy is 88%) due to different soil moisture conditions. There are two stable soil habitat types: mesophytic communities on the Phaeozems (with additional water runoff more than 80 mm) and xerophytic communities on Chernozems (additional runoff less than 55 mm). A transitional type corresponded to xero- mesophytic communities on the Phaeozems with 55–80 mm additional redistributed runoff value. With acceptable accuracy, the habitat for natural plant communities based on soil function model predicts the position of contrastingly different components of biota in relation to their soil moisture requirements within the virgin forest-steppe of the Central Russian Upland. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Digital Soil Mapping of Soil Functions)
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Open AccessArticle
How and to What Extent Does Topography Control the Results of Soil Function Assessment: A Case Study From the Alps in South Tyrol (Italy)
Received: 13 December 2018 / Revised: 17 January 2019 / Accepted: 28 February 2019 / Published: 5 March 2019
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Abstract
Soil function assessments (SFA) are becoming increasingly important as a tool to integrate soil-related issues in decision-making processes in order to maintain soil quality. We present the SEPP (Soil Evaluation for Planning Procedures) tool, which calculates a level of fulfillment for 14 soil [...] Read more.
Soil function assessments (SFA) are becoming increasingly important as a tool to integrate soil-related issues in decision-making processes in order to maintain soil quality. We present the SEPP (Soil Evaluation for Planning Procedures) tool, which calculates a level of fulfillment for 14 soil functions based on the information generally collected in soil pit descriptions. By using a statistical modeling approach based on support vector machine classification, we investigate how and to what extent topography, as representated by local terrain parameters and landform classes computed with the GRASS GIS tool r.geomorphon algorithm, controls soil parameters and hence the output of the SEPP tool. A feature selection procedure is applied which highlights those topographic attributes best suited for modeling the various soil function fulfillment levels. By evaluating the model for each soil function using cross-validation we show that the prediction accuracy varies from function to function. While some terrain attributes are directly implemented in the SFA algorithms of SEPP, others are implemented indirectly due to the link between topography and land use. Minimal curvature and slope were found to be first indicators of function fulfillment level for a number of soil functions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Digital Soil Mapping of Soil Functions)
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Open AccessArticle
Carbaryl Photochemical Degradation on Soil Model Surfaces
Received: 15 December 2018 / Revised: 22 February 2019 / Accepted: 24 February 2019 / Published: 5 March 2019
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Abstract
The phototransformation of carbaryl was investigated upon solar light exposure on three surfaces, silica, kaolin and sand, as soil models. By excitation with a Suntest set up at the surface of the three solid supports, the degradation of carbaryl followed first-order kinetics with [...] Read more.
The phototransformation of carbaryl was investigated upon solar light exposure on three surfaces, silica, kaolin and sand, as soil models. By excitation with a Suntest set up at the surface of the three solid supports, the degradation of carbaryl followed first-order kinetics with a rate constant of 0.10 h−1. By using the Kubelka Munk model, the quantum yield disappearance at the surface of kaolin was evaluated to 2.4 × 10−3. Such a value is roughly one order of magnitude higher than that obtained in aqueous solutions. The results indicated that the particle size and the specific surface area of the various models have significant effects. The photo-oxidative properties as well as the byproduct elucidation by liquid chromatography combined with diode arrays (LC-DAD) and liquid chromatography coupled mass spectrometry (LC-MS) analyses allowed us to propose the degradation mechanism pathways. The main products were 1-naphtol and 2-hydroxy-1,4-naphthoquinone, which arise from a photo-oxidation process together with products from photo-Fries, photo-ejection and methyl carbamate hydrolysis. The toxicity tests clearly showed a significant decrease of the toxicity in the early stages of the irradiation. This clearly shows that the generated products are less toxic than the parent compound. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Organic Residues and Ammonium Effects on CO2 Emissions and Soil Quality Indicators in Limed Acid Tropical Soils
Received: 15 December 2018 / Revised: 18 January 2019 / Accepted: 14 February 2019 / Published: 19 February 2019
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Abstract
Aglime (agricultural lime), commonly applied to acid soils to increase the soil pH and productivity, may lead to the release of CO2 into the atmosphere or to carbon (C) sequestration, although the processes involved are not fully understood. As large acreages of [...] Read more.
Aglime (agricultural lime), commonly applied to acid soils to increase the soil pH and productivity, may lead to the release of CO2 into the atmosphere or to carbon (C) sequestration, although the processes involved are not fully understood. As large acreages of arable land are limed annually, exploring soil management practices that reduce aglime-induced CO2 emissions from acid soils while maintaining or improving the soil quality is paramount to mitigating the effects of global climate change. This study, therefore, assessed the effects of organic residues and ammonium on CO2 emissions and soil quality indicators in two limed soils. Two contrasting acid soils (Nariva series, Mollic Fluvaquents and Piarco series, Typic Kanhaplaquults) were amended with varying combinations of aglime (0% and 0.2% w/w CaCO3), organic residue (0% and 5% w/w biochar or poultry litter), and NH4-N (0% and 0.02% w/w) and were incubated in 300 mL glass jars for 31 days. The sampling for CO2 was performed on 11 occasions over the course of the incubation, while soil sampling was conducted at the end. The results indicate that aglime application significantly (p < 0.05) increased the cumulative CO2 emissions in all cases except with the addition of poultry litter. Alternatively, ammonium did not regulate the effect of aglime on CO2 emissions, which was likely because of the low rate at which it was applied in comparison to aglime. The results also showed that poultry litter significantly (p < 0.05) increased the soil electrical conductivity (EC), available nitrogen (N), and pH, especially in the Piarco soil, while the hardwood biochar had little to no effect on the soil properties. Our findings indicate the potential for utilizing poultry litter to reduce the impact of aglime on CO2 emissions while improving the soil quality. Further studies utilizing 13C to trace aglime CO2 emissions are, however, required to identify the mechanism(s) that contributed to this reduction in the emissions. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Summertime Soil-Atmosphere Ammonia Exchange in the Colorado Rocky Mountain Front Range Pine Forest
Received: 1 December 2018 / Revised: 6 February 2019 / Accepted: 11 February 2019 / Published: 14 February 2019
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Abstract
Understanding the NH3 exchange between forest ecosystems and the atmosphere is important due to its role in the nitrogen cycle. However, NH3 exchange is dynamic and difficult to measure. The goal of this study was to characterize this exchange by measuring [...] Read more.
Understanding the NH3 exchange between forest ecosystems and the atmosphere is important due to its role in the nitrogen cycle. However, NH3 exchange is dynamic and difficult to measure. The goal of this study was to characterize this exchange by measuring the atmosphere, soil, and vegetation. Compensation point modeling was used to evaluate the direction and magnitude of surface-atmosphere exchange. Measurements were performed at the Manitou Experimental Forest Observatory (MEFO) site in the Colorado Front Range by continuous online monitoring of gas and particle phase NH3-NH4+ with an ambient ion monitoring system coupled with ion chromatographs (AIM-IC), direct measurements of [NH4+] and pH in soil extracts to determine ground emission potential (Γg), and measurements of [NH4+]bulk in pine needles to derive leaf emission potential (Γst). Two different soil types were measured multiple times throughout the study, in which Γg ranged from 5 to 2122. Γst values ranged from 29 to 54. Inferred fluxes (Fg) from each soil type predicted intervals of emission and deposition. By accounting for the total [NH4+] pool in each compartment, the lifetime of NH3 with respect to the surface-atmosphere exchange in the soil is on the order of years compared to much faster naturally occurring processes, i.e., mineralization and nitrification. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Formation and Fluxes of Soil Trace Gases)
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Open AccessArticle
Biochar Particle Size and Post-Pyrolysis Mechanical Processing Affect Soil pH, Water Retention Capacity, and Plant Performance
Received: 29 December 2018 / Revised: 11 February 2019 / Accepted: 12 February 2019 / Published: 14 February 2019
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Abstract
It has become common practice in soil applications of biochar to use ground and/or sieved material to reduce particle size and so enhance mixing and surface contact between soils and char particles. Smaller particle sizes of biochars have been suggested to enhance liming [...] Read more.
It has become common practice in soil applications of biochar to use ground and/or sieved material to reduce particle size and so enhance mixing and surface contact between soils and char particles. Smaller particle sizes of biochars have been suggested to enhance liming effects and nutrient exchange, and potentially to increase water storage capacity; however, data remains scarce and effects on plant growth responses have not been examined. We manipulated biochar particle size by sieving or grinding to generate particles in two size ranges (0.06–0.5 mm and 2–4 mm), and examined effects on soil pH, soil water retention, and plant physiological and growth performance of two test species (ryegrass: Lolium multiflorum, and velvetleaf: Abutilon theophrasti) grown in a granitic sand culture. The small particle sieved biochar had the largest liming effect, increasing substrate pH values by an additional ~0.3 pH units compared to other biochars. Small particle size biochar showed enhanced water retention capacity, and sieved biochars showed 91%–258% larger water retention capacity than ground biochars of similar particle size, likely because sieved particles were more elongated than ground particles, and thus increased soil interpore volume. The two plant species tested showed distinct patterns of response to biochar treatments: ryegrass showed a better growth response to large biochar particles, while velvetleaf showed the highest response to the small, sieved biochar treatment. We show for the first time that post-processing of biochars by sieving and grinding has distinct effects on biochar chemical and physical properties, and that resulting differences in properties have large but strongly species-specific effects on plant performance in biochar-amended substrates. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Iron and Manganese Biogeochemistry in Forested Coal Mine Spoil
Received: 28 December 2018 / Revised: 30 January 2019 / Accepted: 1 February 2019 / Published: 8 February 2019
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Abstract
Abandoned mine lands continue to serve as non-point sources of acid and metal contamination to water bodies long after mining operations have ended. Although soils formed from abandoned mine spoil can support forest vegetation, as observed throughout the Appalachian coal basin, the effects [...] Read more.
Abandoned mine lands continue to serve as non-point sources of acid and metal contamination to water bodies long after mining operations have ended. Although soils formed from abandoned mine spoil can support forest vegetation, as observed throughout the Appalachian coal basin, the effects of vegetation on metal cycling in these regions remain poorly characterized. Iron (Fe) and manganese (Mn) biogeochemistry were examined at a former coal mine where deciduous trees grow on mine spoil deposited nearly a century ago. Forest vegetation growing on mine spoil effectively removed dissolved Mn from pore water; however, mineral weathering at a reaction front below the rooting zone resulted in high quantities of leached Mn. Iron was taken up in relatively low quantities by vegetation but was more readily mobilized by dissolved organic carbon produced in the surface soil. Dissolved Fe was low below the reaction front, suggesting that iron oxyhydroxide precipitation retains Fe within the system. These results indicate that mine spoil continues to produce Mn contamination, but vegetation can accumulate Mn and mitigate its leaching from shallow soils, potentially also decreasing Mn leaching from deeper soils by reducing infiltration. Vegetation had less impact on Fe mobility, which was retained as Fe oxides following oxidative weathering. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Iron and Manganese Biogeochemical Cycling in Soils)
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Open AccessReview
Land Degradation by Soil Erosion in Nepal: A Review
Received: 18 November 2018 / Revised: 17 January 2019 / Accepted: 5 February 2019 / Published: 8 February 2019
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Abstract
Land degradation, particularly soil erosion, is currently a major challenge for Nepal. With a high rate of population growth, subsistence-based rural economy, and increasingly intense rainfall events in the monsoon season, Nepal is prone to several forms of land degradation, such as floods, [...] Read more.
Land degradation, particularly soil erosion, is currently a major challenge for Nepal. With a high rate of population growth, subsistence-based rural economy, and increasingly intense rainfall events in the monsoon season, Nepal is prone to several forms of land degradation, such as floods, landslides, and soil erosion. To understand the causes, impacts, and possible management options for soil erosion, a review on the causal factors, status, and amelioration measures for land degradation in Nepal was conducted based on recent information available in national and international journals and grey literature. Intense rainfall and conventional tillage practices coupled with poor soil structure and steep slopes are the main drivers of soil erosion. Soil erosion leads to losses in soil and crop productivity, pollution of land and water resources, and a loss of farm income. Strategies to manage erosion include mulching, cover cropping, contour farming, strip cropping, and conservation agriculture practices, along with bioengineering techniques. Land degradation issues are a prime policy focus in Nepal, including national three- and five-year plans. However, these policies have been generally ineffective in reducing soil erosion, landslides, and floods in relation to the set targets. Realistic plans need to be formulated in Nepal focusing more on capacity enhancement and local participation to actively influence land-degradation processes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil Erosion and Land Degradation)
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Open AccessArticle
Accurate and Precise Prediction of Soil Properties from a Large Mid-Infrared Spectral Library
Received: 14 December 2018 / Revised: 23 January 2019 / Accepted: 24 January 2019 / Published: 29 January 2019
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Abstract
Diffuse reflectance spectroscopy (DRS) is emerging as a rapid and cost-effective alternative to routine laboratory analysis for many soil properties. However, it has primarily been applied in project-specific contexts. Here, we provide an assessment of DRS spectroscopy at the scale of the continental [...] Read more.
Diffuse reflectance spectroscopy (DRS) is emerging as a rapid and cost-effective alternative to routine laboratory analysis for many soil properties. However, it has primarily been applied in project-specific contexts. Here, we provide an assessment of DRS spectroscopy at the scale of the continental United States by utilizing the large (n > 50,000) USDA National Soil Survey Center mid-infrared spectral library and associated soil characterization database. We tested and optimized several advanced statistical approaches for providing routine predictions of numerous soil properties relevant to studying carbon cycling. On independent validation sets, the machine learning algorithms Cubist and memory-based learner (MBL) both outperformed random forest (RF) and partial least squares regressions (PLSR) and produced excellent overall models with a mean R2 of 0.92 (mean ratio of performance to deviation = 6.5) across all 10 soil properties. We found that the use of root-mean-square error (RMSE) was misleading for understanding the actual uncertainty about any particular prediction; therefore, we developed routines to assess the prediction uncertainty for all models except Cubist. The MBL models produced much more precise predictions compared with global PLSR and RF. Finally, we present several techniques that can be used to flag predictions of new samples that may not be reliable because their spectra fall outside of the calibration set. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Reconciling Negative Soil CO2 Fluxes: Insights from a Large-Scale Experimental Hillslope
Received: 30 October 2018 / Revised: 24 December 2018 / Accepted: 3 January 2019 / Published: 13 January 2019
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Abstract
Soil fluxes of CO2 (Fs) have long been considered unidirectional, reflecting the predominant roles of metabolic activity by microbes and roots in ecosystem carbon cycling. Nonetheless, there is a growing body of evidence that non-biological processes in soils can [...] Read more.
Soil fluxes of CO2 (Fs) have long been considered unidirectional, reflecting the predominant roles of metabolic activity by microbes and roots in ecosystem carbon cycling. Nonetheless, there is a growing body of evidence that non-biological processes in soils can outcompete biological ones, pivoting soils from a net source to sink of CO2, as evident mainly in hot and cold deserts with alkaline soils. Widespread reporting of unidirectional fluxes may lead to misrepresentation of Fs in process-based models and lead to errors in estimates of local to global carbon balances. In this study, we investigate the variability and environmental controls of Fs in a large-scale, vegetation-free, and highly instrumented hillslope located within the Biosphere 2 facility, where the main carbon sink is driven by carbonate weathering. We found that the hillslope soils were persistent sinks of CO2 comparable to natural desert shrublands, with an average rate of −0.15 ± 0.06 µmol CO2 m2 s−1 and annual sink of −56.8 ± 22.7 g C m−2 y−1. Furthermore, higher uptake rates (more negative Fs) were observed at night, coinciding with strong soil–air temperature gradients and [CO2] inversions in the soil profile, consistent with carbonate weathering. Our results confirm previous studies that reported negative values of Fs in hot and cold deserts around the globe and suggest that negative Fs are more common than previously assumed. This is particularly important as negative Fs may occur widely in arid and semiarid ecosystems, which play a dominant role in the interannual variability of the terrestrial carbon cycle. This study contributes to the growing recognition of the prevalence of negative Fs as an important yet, often overlooked component of ecosystem C cycling. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Formation and Fluxes of Soil Trace Gases)
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Open AccessEditorial
Acknowledgement to Reviewers of Soil Systems in 2018
Published: 11 January 2019
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Abstract
Rigorous peer-review is the corner-stone of high-quality academic publishing [...] Full article
Open AccessArticle
Effect of Biochar on Soil Greenhouse Gas Emissions at the Laboratory and Field Scales
Received: 14 October 2018 / Revised: 20 November 2018 / Accepted: 24 December 2018 / Published: 11 January 2019
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Abstract
Biochar application to soil has been proposed as a means for reducing soil greenhouse gas emissions and mitigating climate change. The effects, however, of interactions between biochar, moisture and temperature on soil CO2 and N2O emissions, remain poorly understood. Furthermore, [...] Read more.
Biochar application to soil has been proposed as a means for reducing soil greenhouse gas emissions and mitigating climate change. The effects, however, of interactions between biochar, moisture and temperature on soil CO2 and N2O emissions, remain poorly understood. Furthermore, the applicability of lab-scale observations to field conditions in diverse agroecosystems remains uncertain. Here we investigate the impact of a mixed wood gasification biochar on CO2 and N2O emissions from loess-derived soils using: (1) controlled laboratory incubations at three moisture (27, 31 and 35%) and three temperature (10, 20 and 30 °C) levels and (2) a field study with four cropping systems (continuous corn, switchgrass, low diversity grass mix and high diversity grass-forb mix). Biochar reduced N2O emissions under specific temperatures and moistures in the laboratory and in the continuous corn cropping system in the field. However, the effect of biochar on N2O emissions was only significant in the field and no effect on cumulative CO2 emissions was observed. Cropping system also had a significant effect in the field study, with soils in grass and grass-forb cropping systems emitting more CO2 and less N2O than corn cropping systems. Observed biochar effects were consistent with previous studies showing that biochar amendments can reduce soil N2O emissions under specific but not all, conditions. The disparity in N2O emission responses at the lab and field scales suggests that laboratory incubation experiments may not reliably predict the impact of biochar at the field scale. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Formation and Fluxes of Soil Trace Gases)
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Open AccessArticle
Anaerobic Methane Oxidation in High-Arctic Alaskan Peatlands as a Significant Control on Net CH4 Fluxes
Received: 1 November 2018 / Revised: 13 December 2018 / Accepted: 28 December 2018 / Published: 9 January 2019
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Abstract
Terrestrial consumption of the potent greenhouse gas methane (CH4) is a critical aspect of the future climate, as CH4 concentrations in the atmosphere are projected to play an increasingly important role in global climate forcing. Anaerobic oxidation of methane (AOM) [...] Read more.
Terrestrial consumption of the potent greenhouse gas methane (CH4) is a critical aspect of the future climate, as CH4 concentrations in the atmosphere are projected to play an increasingly important role in global climate forcing. Anaerobic oxidation of methane (AOM) has only recently been considered a relevant control on methane fluxes from terrestrial systems. We performed in vitro anoxic incubations of intact peat from Utqiaġvik (Barrow), Alaska using stable isotope tracers. Our results showed an average potential AOM rate of 15.0 nmol cm3 h−1, surpassing the average rate of gross CH4 production (6.0 nmol cm3 h−1). AOM and CH4 production rates were positively correlated. While CH4 production was insensitive to additions of Fe(III), there was a depth:Fe(III) interaction in the kinetic reaction rate constant for AOM, suggestive of stimulation by Fe(III), particularly in shallow soils (<10 cm). We estimate AOM would consume 25–34% of CH4 produced under ambient conditions. Soil genetic surveys showed phylogenetic links between soil microbes and known anaerobic methanotrophs in ANME groups 2 and 3. These results suggest a prevalent role of AOM to net CH4 fluxes from Arctic peatland ecosystems, and a probable link with Fe(III)-reduction. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Formation and Fluxes of Soil Trace Gases)
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Open AccessArticle
Environmental and Vegetative Controls on Soil CO2 Efflux in Three Semiarid Ecosystems
Received: 27 October 2018 / Revised: 15 December 2018 / Accepted: 2 January 2019 / Published: 8 January 2019
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Abstract
Soil CO2 efflux (Fsoil) is a major component of the ecosystem carbon balance. Globally expansive semiarid ecosystems have been shown to influence the trend and interannual variability of the terrestrial carbon sink. Modeling Fsoil in water-limited ecosystems remains [...] Read more.
Soil CO2 efflux (Fsoil) is a major component of the ecosystem carbon balance. Globally expansive semiarid ecosystems have been shown to influence the trend and interannual variability of the terrestrial carbon sink. Modeling Fsoil in water-limited ecosystems remains relatively difficult due to high spatial and temporal variability associated with dynamics in moisture availability and biological activity. Measurements of the processes underlying variability in Fsoil can help evaluate Fsoil models for water-limited ecosystems. Here we combine automated soil chamber and flux tower data with models to investigate how soil temperature (Ts), soil moisture (θ), and gross ecosystem photosynthesis (GEP) control Fsoil in semiarid ecosystems with similar climates and different vegetation types. Across grassland, shrubland, and savanna sites, θ regulated the relationship between Fsoil and Ts, and GEP influenced Fsoil magnitude. Thus, the combination of Ts, θ, and GEP controlled rates and patterns of Fsoil. In a root exclusion experiment at the grassland, we found that growing season autotrophic respiration accounted for 45% of Fsoil. Our modeling results indicate that a combination of Ts, θ, and GEP terms is required to model spatial and temporal dynamics in Fsoil, particularly in deeper-rooted shrublands and savannas where coupling between GEP and shallow θ is weaker than in grasslands. Together, these results highlight that including θ and GEP in Fsoil models can help reduce uncertainty in semiarid ecosystem carbon dynamics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Formation and Fluxes of Soil Trace Gases)
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Open AccessArticle
Soil Security in Sustainable Development
Received: 7 December 2018 / Revised: 26 December 2018 / Accepted: 5 January 2019 / Published: 8 January 2019
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Abstract
The United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provide an excellent channel to demonstrate the significance of soils when considering e.g., food production, water availability, climate mitigation and biodiversity preservation. For environmental sciences, including soil science, the SDGs provide “a point at the [...] Read more.
The United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provide an excellent channel to demonstrate the significance of soils when considering e.g., food production, water availability, climate mitigation and biodiversity preservation. For environmental sciences, including soil science, the SDGs provide “a point at the horizon” for future research. Progress to achieve the SDGs by 2030 will bureaucratically be monitored by targets and indicators but questions as to how effective research should be organized remain unanswered so far. The soil security concept, based on the five Cs (capability, condition, capital, connectivity and codification) can provide a clear guideline for soil science research, defining soil functions contributing to interdisciplinary ecosystem services that, in turn, can define measures to reach SDGs. A “storyline” is proposed linking the five Cs, emphasizing connectivity that becomes increasingly important in our modern “fact-free” world. The traditional linear research model does not apply when characterizing SDGs because of many conflicting interests that don’t allow definition of specific “solutions”. But different action-perspectives can be defined as a basis for decision making, creating much needed transparency in the decision process. Soil contributions are most effective when framed in the context of soil-water-atmosphere-plant models. Proper codification, including clear and candid communication with stakeholders, is essential to link science with society, a link that needs improvement. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Novel Approach for High-Frequency in-situ Quantification of Methane Oxidation in Peatlands
Received: 5 October 2018 / Revised: 14 December 2018 / Accepted: 14 December 2018 / Published: 31 December 2018
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Abstract
Methane (CH4) oxidation is an important process for regulating CH4 emissions from peatlands as it oxidizes CH4 to carbon dioxide (CO2). Our current knowledge about its temporal dynamics and contribution to ecosystem CO2 fluxes is, however, [...] Read more.
Methane (CH4) oxidation is an important process for regulating CH4 emissions from peatlands as it oxidizes CH4 to carbon dioxide (CO2). Our current knowledge about its temporal dynamics and contribution to ecosystem CO2 fluxes is, however, limited due to methodological constraints. Here, we present the first results from a novel method for quantifying in-situ CH4 oxidation at high temporal resolution. Using an automated chamber system, we measured the isotopic signature of heterotrophic respiration (CO2 emissions from vegetation-free plots) at a boreal mire in northern Sweden. Based on these data we calculated CH4 oxidation rates using a two-source isotope mixing model. During the measurement campaign, 74% of potential CH4 fluxes from vegetation-free plots were oxidized to CO2, and CH4 oxidation contributed 20 ± 2.5% to heterotrophic respiration corresponding to 10 ± 0.5% of ecosystem respiration. Furthermore, the contribution of CH4 oxidation to heterotrophic respiration showed a distinct diurnal cycle being negligible during nighttime while contributing up to 35 ± 3.0% during the daytime. Our results show that CH4 oxidation may represent an important component of the peatland ecosystem respiration and highlight the value of our method for measuring in-situ CH4 oxidation to better understand carbon dynamics in peatlands. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Formation and Fluxes of Soil Trace Gases)
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Open AccessArticle
Fertimetro, a Principle and Device to Measure Soil Nutrient Availability for Plants by Microbial Degradation Rates on Differently-Spiked Buried Threads
Received: 22 November 2018 / Revised: 16 December 2018 / Accepted: 24 December 2018 / Published: 29 December 2018
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Abstract
A novel patented method (PCT/IB2012/001157: Squartini, Concheri, Tiozzo, University of Padova) and the corresponding application devices, suitable to measure soil fertility, are presented. The availability or deficiency of specific nutrients for crops is assessed by monitoring the kinetics of progressive weakening of cotton [...] Read more.
A novel patented method (PCT/IB2012/001157: Squartini, Concheri, Tiozzo, University of Padova) and the corresponding application devices, suitable to measure soil fertility, are presented. The availability or deficiency of specific nutrients for crops is assessed by monitoring the kinetics of progressive weakening of cotton or silk threads due to in situ microbial activity. The method is based on a nutrient-primed incremented substrate degradation principle. Threads are buried as is or pre-impregnated with N or P solutions, and the acceleration of the degradation rate for the N-supplemented or P-supplemented thread, in comparison to the untreated thread, is proportional to the lack of the corresponding nutrient in that soil. Tests were validated on corn crops in plots receiving increasing fertilizer rates in a historical rotation that has been established since 1962. The measurement carried out in May significantly correlated with the subsequent crop yields recorded in October. The analysis allows an early, inexpensive, fast, and reproducible self-assessment at field level to improve fertilization rates. The device is envisaged as a user-friendly tool for agronomy, horticulture, and any environmental applications where organic matter cycling, soil quality, and specific nutrients excess or deficiency are critical considerations. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Methane Emissions from a Grassland-Wetland Complex in the Southern Peruvian Andes
Received: 4 November 2018 / Revised: 7 December 2018 / Accepted: 24 December 2018 / Published: 28 December 2018
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Abstract
Wet organic-rich mineral and peat soils in the tropical Andes represent a potentially significant, but little studied, source of methane to the atmosphere. Here we report the results of field and laboratory measurements of soil–atmosphere methane exchange and associated environmental variables from freely [...] Read more.
Wet organic-rich mineral and peat soils in the tropical Andes represent a potentially significant, but little studied, source of methane to the atmosphere. Here we report the results of field and laboratory measurements of soil–atmosphere methane exchange and associated environmental variables from freely draining upland and inundation prone wetland soils in a humid puna ecosystem in the Southeastern Andes of Peru. Between seasons and across the landscape soil–atmosphere exchange varied between uptake and emission. Notable hotspots of methane emission, peaking during the wet season, were observed from both upland and wetland soils with particularly strong emissions from moss-accumulating topographic lows. This variability was best explained by the influence of oxygen concentration on methane production in superficial soil horizons. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Formation and Fluxes of Soil Trace Gases)
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Open AccessArticle
The Controls of Iron and Oxygen on Hydroxyl Radical (•OH) Production in Soils
Received: 13 October 2018 / Revised: 4 December 2018 / Accepted: 19 December 2018 / Published: 26 December 2018
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Abstract
Hydroxyl radical (•OH) is produced in soils from oxidation of reduced iron (Fe(II)) by dissolved oxygen (O2) and can oxidize dissolved organic carbon (DOC) to carbon dioxide (CO2). Understanding the role of •OH on CO2 production in soils [...] Read more.
Hydroxyl radical (•OH) is produced in soils from oxidation of reduced iron (Fe(II)) by dissolved oxygen (O2) and can oxidize dissolved organic carbon (DOC) to carbon dioxide (CO2). Understanding the role of •OH on CO2 production in soils requires knowing whether Fe(II) production or O2 supply to soils limits •OH production. To test the relative importance of Fe(II) production versus O2 supply, we measured changes in Fe(II) and O2 and in situ •OH production during simulated precipitation events and during common, waterlogged conditions in mesocosms from two landscape ages and the two dominant vegetation types of the Arctic. The balance of Fe(II) production and consumption controlled •OH production during precipitation events that supplied O2 to the soils. During static, waterlogged conditions, •OH production was controlled by O2 supply because Fe(II) production was higher than its consumption (oxidation) by O2. An average precipitation event (4 mm) resulted in 200 µmol •OH m−2 per day produced compared to 60 µmol •OH m−2 per day produced during waterlogged conditions. These findings suggest that the oxidation of DOC to CO2 by •OH in arctic soils, a process potentially as important as microbial respiration of DOC in arctic surface waters, will depend on the patterns and amounts of rainfall that oxygenate the soil. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Iron and Manganese Biogeochemical Cycling in Soils)
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