Special Issue "Soil Carbon Sequestration for Food Security, Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation"

A special issue of Agronomy (ISSN 2073-4395). This special issue belongs to the section "Soil and Plant Nutrition".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 November 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Abad Chabbi
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA), URP3F, F-86600 Lusignan, France
Interests: biogeochemistry; landuse changes; agroecosytems; grassland; climate change; sustainability; carbon storage; nutrient availability; stoichiometry; plant-soil system
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Cornelia Rumpel
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
CNRS, Campus AgroParisTech, Batiment EGER, 78850 Thiverval-Grignon, France
Interests: soil biogeochemistry; soil C sequestration; black carbon; biochar; soil biology; deep soil horizons; organic soil amendments; grassland management

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The 4 per 1000 initiative was launched in 2015 as a global initiative to promote the adoption of economically viable and ecologically sound agricultural practices towards carbon sequestration and food security. Despite doubts in terms of feasibility and contribution to climate change mitigation, the soil remains at the heart of the political and socioeconomic debate.

In this Special Issue, we invite contributions dealing with sustainable agricultural practices and their effects on soil organic matter quantity and quality addressing the link between soil organic matter, climate change, and food security. We encourage submissions addressing the effect of practices on climate change adaptation of agricultural production. Moreover, we are interested in papers dealing with socioeconomic aspects and incentives favoring the transition of agricultural systems towards sustainability.

Dr. Abad Chabbi
Dr. Cornelia Rumpe
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • Soil carbon sequestration
  • Soil organic matter
  • Food security
  • Climate change
  • Sustainable agricultural practices

Published Papers (13 papers)

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Research

Article
Site-Specific Effects of Organic Amendments on Parameters of Tropical Agricultural Soil and Yield: A Field Experiment in Three Countries in Southeast Asia
Agronomy 2021, 11(2), 348; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11020348 - 15 Feb 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 772
Abstract
Organic amendments may improve the quality of acidic tropical agricultural soils with low organic carbon contents under conventional management (mineral fertilization and irrigation) in Southeast Asia. We investigated the effect of biochar, compost and their combination on maize growth and yield, soil physical, [...] Read more.
Organic amendments may improve the quality of acidic tropical agricultural soils with low organic carbon contents under conventional management (mineral fertilization and irrigation) in Southeast Asia. We investigated the effect of biochar, compost and their combination on maize growth and yield, soil physical, biological and chemical properties at harvesting time at four sites in three countries: Thailand, Vietnam and Laos. Treatments consisted of 10 t·ha−1 cow manure compost and 7 t·ha−1 of Bamboo biochar and their combination. Maize biomass production and cop yields were recorded for two seasons. Elemental content, pH and nutrient availability of soils were analyzed after the first growing season. We also characterized macrofauna abundance and water infiltration. Few changes were noted for maize biomass production and maize cop yield. Soil chemical parameters showed contrasting, site-specific results. Compost and biochar amendments increased soil organic carbon, pH, total K and N, P and K availability especially for sandy soils in Thailand. The combination of both amendments could reduce nutrient availability as compared to compost only treatments. Physical and biological parameters showed no treatment response. We conclude that the addition of compost, biochar and their mixture to tropical soils have site-specific short-term effects on chemical soil parameters. Their short-term effect on plants is thus mainly related to nutrient input. The site-dependent results despite similar crops, fertilization and irrigation practices suggest that inherent soil parameters and optimization of organic amendment application to specific pedoclimatic conditions need future attention. Full article
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Article
The Effect of Crop Rotation and Cultivation History on Predicted Carbon Sequestration in Soils of Two Experimental Fields in the Moscow Region, Russia
Agronomy 2021, 11(2), 226; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11020226 - 26 Jan 2021
Viewed by 485
Abstract
Soil organic carbon (SOC) sequestration in arable soils is a challenging goal. We focused on the effect of crop rotation and previous land use for future carbon sequestration on two experimental fields on Retisols with four contrasting fertilization treatments each. We analyzed the [...] Read more.
Soil organic carbon (SOC) sequestration in arable soils is a challenging goal. We focused on the effect of crop rotation and previous land use for future carbon sequestration on two experimental fields on Retisols with four contrasting fertilization treatments each. We analyzed the SOC dynamics and used the RothC model to forecast the SOC. We found a consistent increase in SOC stocks and stable fractions of the soil organic matter (SOM) with C accumulation in the next 70 years compared to the 90-year experimental period, more evident under the Representative Concentration Pathway 4.5 (RCP4.5) compared with the RCP8.5 scenario. The expected increase in SOC will be higher in the crop rotation with a grass field than in the experiment with an alternation of row crops and cereals. The efficiency depended on stable SOM fractions, and fields with more extended cultivation history showed higher SOM stability. Proper crop rotations are more important for SOC stability than the uncertainty associated with the climate change scenarios that allows timely adaptation. The goal of a 4‰ annual increase of SOC stocks may be reached under rotation with grasses in 2020–40 and 2080–90 when applying a mineral or organic fertilizer system for scenario RCP4.5 and a mineral fertilizer system in 2080–2090 for scenario RCP8.5. Full article
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Article
Tillage Practice Impacts on the Carbon Sequestration Potential of Topsoil Microbial Communities in an Agricultural Field
Agronomy 2021, 11(1), 60; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11010060 - 29 Dec 2020
Viewed by 712
Abstract
Soil microorganisms are the core force driving the conversion of plant residues into soil organic carbon (SOC). Identifying the changes in soil microorganism responses to tillage practices is a key step in understanding the SOC sequestration potential. The aim of this study is [...] Read more.
Soil microorganisms are the core force driving the conversion of plant residues into soil organic carbon (SOC). Identifying the changes in soil microorganism responses to tillage practices is a key step in understanding the SOC sequestration potential. The aim of this study is to assess the impacts of different tillage practices on microbial communities and functions in agricultural soils. A field experiment involving no tillage (NT), rotary tillage (RT), and deep tillage (DT) in winter wheat-summer maize double cropping was performed to determine the structure of the microbial community and its functions using metagenomics. We found that tillage practices changed the composition of soil microbial communities and their functions related to the C cycle. The relative abundance of fungi in DT was significantly higher than that of the NT and RT treatments and primarily facilitated the growth of the fungi community. Moreover, DT treatment increased the relative abundance of genes involved in carbohydrate transport and metabolism genes and carbohydrate metabolism pathway genes, in addition to those encoding carbohydrate-binding modules. Therefore, we concluded that DT increases the transformation potential of straw-C to SOC in the North China Plain where large amounts of wheat and maize straw are returned to the field every year. Full article
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Article
Monitoring Grassland Management Effects on Soil Organic Carbon—A Matter of Scale
Agronomy 2020, 10(12), 2016; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10122016 - 21 Dec 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 746
Abstract
Introduction of temporary grasslands into cropping cycles could be a sustainable management practice leading to increased soil organic carbon (SOC) to contribute to climate change adaption and mitigation. To investigate the impact of temporary grassland management practices on SOC storage of croplands, we [...] Read more.
Introduction of temporary grasslands into cropping cycles could be a sustainable management practice leading to increased soil organic carbon (SOC) to contribute to climate change adaption and mitigation. To investigate the impact of temporary grassland management practices on SOC storage of croplands, we used a spatially resolved sampling approach combined with geostatistical analyses across an agricultural experiment. The experiment included blocks (0.4- to 3-ha blocks) of continuous grassland, continuous cropping and temporary grasslands with different durations and N-fertilizations on a 23-ha site in western France. We measured changes in SOC storage over this 9-year experiment on loamy soil and investigated physicochemical soil parameters. In the soil profiles (0–90 cm), SOC stocks ranged from 82.7 to 98.5 t ha−1 in 2005 and from 81.3 to 103.9 t ha−1 in 2014. On 0.4-ha blocks, the continuous grassland increased SOC in the soil profile with highest gains in the first 30 cm, while losses were recorded under continuous cropping. Where temporary grasslands were introduced into cropping cycles, SOC stocks were maintained. These observations were only partly confirmed when changing the scale of observation to 3-ha blocks. At the 3-ha scale, most grassland treatments exhibited both gains and losses of SOC, which could be partly related to soil physicochemical properties. Overall, our data suggest that both management practices and soil characteristics determine if carbon will accumulate in SOC pools. For detailed understanding of SOC changes, a combination of measurements at different scales is necessary. Full article
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Article
Long-Term Effects of Organic Amendments on Soil Organic Matter Quantity and Quality in Conventional Cropping Systems in Switzerland
Agronomy 2020, 10(12), 1977; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10121977 - 16 Dec 2020
Viewed by 779
Abstract
Increasing soil organic carbon (SOC) in agroecosystems is a promising solution to simultaneously address climate change mitigation, adaptation, and food security. Yet, the best management practices that could achieve these goals remain to be identified. Here, we analyze the long-term effects of application [...] Read more.
Increasing soil organic carbon (SOC) in agroecosystems is a promising solution to simultaneously address climate change mitigation, adaptation, and food security. Yet, the best management practices that could achieve these goals remain to be identified. Here, we analyze the long-term effects of application of green manure, cereal straw, farmyard manure, and cattle slurry on SOC in a 37 year long field experiment in Switzerland. The treatment effects were compared against control conditions that received only optimal mineral fertilization. More specifically, this study aimed at evaluating the effect of organic amendments on SOC accumulation and distribution in different soil particle-size fractions by means of a set of indicators about organic matter quality (biological reactivity, humification index) and microbial activity (extracellular enzyme activities). In the absence of organic matter input, application of mineral fertilizers alone resulted in the lowest SOC content and the highest humification index of the bulk soil organic matter. Among the organic amendments, cereal straw, farmyard manure, and cattle slurry promoted a higher SOC content and a lower humification index due to an increase of SOC in the clay-size fraction. The annual C accrual reached 4.4‰ per year over 37 years with farmyard manure. The higher biological reactivity measured for the green manure and cereal straw amendments was associated with higher soil enzymatic activities, while C retention coefficients decreased by at least 2.5 times compared to animal-derived amendments. The low availability of nutrients in green manure and straw amendments as suggested by the high phosphatase and N-acetylglucosaminidase activities may indicate a reduction in C retention of organic matter inputs due to nutrient microbial mining with plant-derived amendments. Full article
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Article
Assessing Soil Organic Carbon in Soils to Enhance and Track Future Carbon Stocks
Agronomy 2020, 10(8), 1139; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10081139 - 05 Aug 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1064
Abstract
Soils represent the largest terrestrial sink of carbon (C) on Earth, yet the quantification of the amount of soil organic carbon (SOC) is challenging due to the spatial variability inherent in agricultural soils. Our objective was to use a grid sampling approach to [...] Read more.
Soils represent the largest terrestrial sink of carbon (C) on Earth, yet the quantification of the amount of soil organic carbon (SOC) is challenging due to the spatial variability inherent in agricultural soils. Our objective was to use a grid sampling approach to assess the magnitude of SOC variability and determine the current SOC stocks in three typical agricultural fields in Maryland, United States. A selected area in each field (4000 m2) was divided into eight grids (20 m × 25 m) for soil sample collection at three fixed depth intervals (0–20 cm, 20–40 cm, and 40–60 cm). Soil pH in all fields was significantly (p < 0.05) greater in the surface soil layer (6.2–6.4) than lower soil layers (4.7–5.9). The mean SOC stocks in the surface layers (0–20 cm: 1.7–2.5 kg/m2) were 47% to 53% of the total SOC stocks at 0–60 cm depth, and were significantly greater than sub-surface layers (20–40 cm: 0.9–1.3 kg/m2; 40–60 cm: 0.8–0.9 kg/m2). Carbon to nitrogen (C/N) ratio and stable C isotopic composition (δ13C) were used to understand the characteristics of SOC in three fields. The C/N ratio was positively corelated (r > 0.96) with SOC stocks, which were lower in sub-surface than surface layers. Differences in C/N ratios and δ13C signatures were observed among the three fields. The calculated values of SOC stocks at 0–60 cm depth ranged from 37 to 47 Mg/ha and were not significantly different in three fields likely due to the similar parent material, soil types, climate, and a short history of changes in management practices. A small variability (~10% coefficient of variation) in SOC stocks across eight sampling grids in each field suggests that re-sampling these grids in the future can lead to accurately determining and tracking changes in SOC stocks. Full article
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Article
Defining Targets for Reversing Declines of Soil Carbon in High-Intensity Arable Cropping
Agronomy 2020, 10(7), 973; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10070973 - 06 Jul 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 584
Abstract
Soil organic carbon (SOC) is declining globally due to intensification of agriculture. Reversing declines should reduce soil erosion, maintain yields, raise the soil’s atmospheric carbon sink, and improve habitat for biodiversity. Commercial fields were sampled in a diverse European Atlantic zone cropland to [...] Read more.
Soil organic carbon (SOC) is declining globally due to intensification of agriculture. Reversing declines should reduce soil erosion, maintain yields, raise the soil’s atmospheric carbon sink, and improve habitat for biodiversity. Commercial fields were sampled in a diverse European Atlantic zone cropland to relate SOC status to cropping intensity and to define a realistic target for restoration. SOC (%C by mass) decreased from 4% to 2% as the proportion of high-intensity crops increased from zero to 55% (linear regression, F pr. < 0.001). In further sampling in and around high-intensity fields, mean SOC increased from 2.4% in cultivated soil to 3.3% in field margins and 4.8% in nearby uncultivated land (F pr. < 0.001). Three broad zones of SOC in close spatial proximity were then defined: 1) high-intensity arable from 1% to 3%, 2) mid-intensity arable and arable-grass from 3% to 5% and 3) uncultivated and semi-natural land from 5% upwards. C:N ratio was constrained around 12, unaffected by cropping intensity, but slightly lower in fields than in margins and uncultivated land (F pr. < 0.001). A feasible target SOC of just above 3% was defined for high-intensity sites. There should be no biophysical obstacle to raising SOC above 3% in the high-input sector. Results argue against treating cropland of this type as uniform: assessment and restoration should be implemented field by field. Full article
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Article
Effects of Residue Returning on Soil Organic Carbon Storage and Sequestration Rate in China’s Croplands: A Meta-Analysis
Agronomy 2020, 10(5), 691; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10050691 - 13 May 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 996
Abstract
Crop residue returning (RR) is a promising option to increase soil organic carbon (SOC) storage, which is linked to crop yield promotion, ecologically sustainable agriculture, and climate change mitigation. Thus, the objectives of this study were to identify the responses of SOC storage [...] Read more.
Crop residue returning (RR) is a promising option to increase soil organic carbon (SOC) storage, which is linked to crop yield promotion, ecologically sustainable agriculture, and climate change mitigation. Thus, the objectives of this study were to identify the responses of SOC storage and sequestration rates to RR in China’s croplands. Based on a national meta-analysis of 365 comparisons from 99 publications, the results indicated that RR increased SOC storage by 11.3% compared to residue removal (p < 0.05). Theoretically, when combined with low nitrogen fertilizer input rates (0–120 kg N ha−1), single cropping system, paddy-upland rotation, lower mean annual precipitation (0–500 mm), alkaline soils (pH 7.5–8.5), other methods of RR (including residue chopping, evenly incorporating, and burying) or long-term use (>10 yrs), an increase in SOC storage under RR by 11.6–15.5% could be obtained. The SOC sequestration rate of RR varied from 0.48 (Central China) to 1.61 (Southwest China) Mg C ha−1 yr−1, with a national average value of 0.93 Mg C ha−1 yr−1. Higher SOC sequestration rates enhanced crop production. However, decreases in SOC sequestration rate were observed with increases in experimental durations. The phenomenon of “C saturation” occurred after 23 yrs of RR. Overall, RR can be used as an efficient and environmentally friendly and climate-smart management practice for long-term use. Full article
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Article
Do Soil Warming and Changes in Precipitation Patterns Affect Seed Yield and Seed Quality of Field-Grown Winter Oilseed Rape?
Agronomy 2020, 10(4), 520; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10040520 - 06 Apr 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 795
Abstract
Increasing air and soil temperatures and changes in precipitation patterns as consequences of climate change will affect crop production in agricultural ecosystems. The combined effects of soil warming and altered precipitation on the productivity and product quality of oil crops are not yet [...] Read more.
Increasing air and soil temperatures and changes in precipitation patterns as consequences of climate change will affect crop production in agricultural ecosystems. The combined effects of soil warming and altered precipitation on the productivity and product quality of oil crops are not yet well studied. Winter oilseed rape (OSR) (Brassica napus L., cv. Mercedes) was field-grown under elevated soil temperature (+2.5 °C), reduced precipitation amount (−25%), reduced precipitation frequency (−50%) both separately and in combination in order to investigate effects on crop development, seed yield, and seed quality. Soil warming accelerated crop development during early plant growth and during spring. At maturity, however, plants in all treatments were similar in quantitative (aboveground biomass, seed yield) and qualitative (protein and oil content, amino acids, fatty acids) parameters. We observed the long-term effects of the precipitation manipulation on leaf size, leaf senescence and biomass allocation. Seed yield was not affected by the altered climatic factors, perhaps due to adaptation of soil microorganisms to permanent soil warming and to relatively wet conditions during the seed-filling period. Overall, OSR performed well under moderate changes in soil temperature and precipitation patterns; thus, we observed stable seed yield without negative impacts on nutritive seed quality. Full article
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Article
Effect of Rice Residue Retention and Foliar Application of K on Water Productivity and Profitability of Wheat in North West India
Agronomy 2020, 10(3), 434; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10030434 - 21 Mar 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1092
Abstract
The rice–wheat cropping system being the backbone of food security in South-Asia has resulted in soil health deterioration, declining water table, and air pollution affecting livability index of the region. The effect of rice residue retention (RRR), irrigation levels and foliar application of [...] Read more.
The rice–wheat cropping system being the backbone of food security in South-Asia has resulted in soil health deterioration, declining water table, and air pollution affecting livability index of the region. The effect of rice residue retention (RRR), irrigation levels and foliar application of K on wheat grain yield (GY), water use efficiency (WUE) and profitability was tested over three years. RRR increased wheat GY (5224 kg ha−1), above-ground biomass (AGBM = 11.9 t ha−1), tillers per square meter (TPM = 469) and grains per meter square (GrPMS = 13,917) significantly. Relative water content (RWC = 93.8) and WUE (2.45 k gm−3) were also increased significantly by RRR. Consequently, profitability (Net return = 624.4 $ and Benefit to cost (B:C) ratio) was enhanced. Foliar application of K enhanced GY (5151 kg ha−1), AGBM (12 t ha−1), RWC (94.1), SPAD (52.2), WUE (2.40 kg m−3), net returns (625.2 $) and BC ratio (1.62) significantly. RRR increased GY (15.66%) and WUE (17.39%) with additional revenue of 151 $ with only one irrigation at the CRI stage (ICS). RRR adopted over 10% of the area can earn 187 million-US$ annually. RRR if adopted over existing practice on a large area would reduce environmental degradation with an enhanced income to small and marginal farmers. Full article
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Article
Effect of Digestate on Soil Organic Carbon and Plant-Available Nutrient Content Compared to Cattle Slurry and Mineral Fertilization
Agronomy 2020, 10(3), 379; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10030379 - 10 Mar 2020
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 1386
Abstract
Digestate contains many valuable nutrients, including nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K); however, it is characterized by relatively little organic matter. The objective of this study was to assess the four-year impact of digestate (Dig) application, digestate + straw (Dig + St), [...] Read more.
Digestate contains many valuable nutrients, including nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K); however, it is characterized by relatively little organic matter. The objective of this study was to assess the four-year impact of digestate (Dig) application, digestate + straw (Dig + St), cattle slurry (Csl), and mineral fertilization (NPK) on soil organic carbon (SOC), total nitrogen (TN), mineral N (Nmin), and the content of plant-available P and K. Fertilization did not have any significant influence on SOC, TN, and SOC/TN parameters. Yet, in comparison with control, there was an upward trend in the concentration of SOC and TN in the topsoil, where fertilizers were applied. In contrast to SOC and TN, fertilizer treatment significantly affected the content of P, K, and Nmin, and the differences depended on the soil depth and the fertilizer used. On average, the highest content of P was obtained in Csl treatment, but the highest content of K was observed in Dig + St. The effect of treatment on Nmin in spring was as follows: NPK = control < Csl = Dig + St < Dig. Straw plowing increased the bio-immobilization of N with digestate and, at the same time, lowered the content level of nitrates in soil. Full article
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Article
Soil Carbon Budget Account for the Sustainability Improvement of a Mediterranean Vineyard Area
Agronomy 2020, 10(3), 336; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10030336 - 02 Mar 2020
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 864
Abstract
Sustainable viticulture is suggested as an interesting strategy for achieving the objectives of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction in terms of mitigation and adaptation. However, knowledge and quantification of the contribution of sustainable vineyard management on climate change impact are needed. Although [...] Read more.
Sustainable viticulture is suggested as an interesting strategy for achieving the objectives of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction in terms of mitigation and adaptation. However, knowledge and quantification of the contribution of sustainable vineyard management on climate change impact are needed. Although it is widely assessed by several authors that the agricultural stage has a great impact in the wine chain, very few studies have evaluated the greenhouse gas emission in this phase including the ability of soil to sequester carbon (C) or the off-farm C loss by erosion. This work aimed to provide a vineyard carbon budget (vCB) tool to quantify the impact of grape production on GHG emission including the effects of environmental characteristics and agricultural practices. The vCB was estimated considering four different soil management scenarios: conventional tillage (CT), temporary cover crop with a leguminous species in alternate inter-rows (ACC), temporary cover crop with a leguminous species (CC), permanent cover crop (PCC). The estimation of vCB was applied at territory level in a viticulture area in Sicily (2468 ha of vineyard) using empirical data. Results of the present study showed that the environmental characteristics strongly affect the sustainability of vineyard management; the highest contribution to total CO2 emission is, in fact, given by the C losses by erosion in sloping vineyards. Soils of studied vineyards are a source of CO2 due to the low C inputs and high mineralization rate, except for soil managed by CC which can sequester soil C, contributing positively to vCB. The highest total CO2 emission was estimated in vineyards under CT management (2.31 t ha−1y−1), followed by CC (1.27 t ha−1y−1), ACC (0.69 t ha−1y−1) and PCC (0.64 t ha−1y−1). Findings of vCB applied at territory level highlighted the key role of the evaluation of carbon budget (CB) on a larger scale to identify the CO2 emission in relation to climatic and environmental factors. The present study could contribute to provide suggestions to policymakers and farmers for reducing GHG emissions and promote more sustainable grape production practices. Full article
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Article
A Comparative Study of Rotation Patterns on Soil Organic Carbon in China’s Arid and Semi-Arid Regions
Agronomy 2020, 10(2), 160; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10020160 - 22 Jan 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 743
Abstract
The practice of crop rotation can significantly impact carbon sequestration potential. In exploring whether crop rotation has the potential to improve soil carbon sequestration in China’s Loess Plateau, soil organic carbon (SOC), soil water content (SWC), soil bulk density (SBD), and soil pH [...] Read more.
The practice of crop rotation can significantly impact carbon sequestration potential. In exploring whether crop rotation has the potential to improve soil carbon sequestration in China’s Loess Plateau, soil organic carbon (SOC), soil water content (SWC), soil bulk density (SBD), and soil pH were compared across the 0–1.0 m soil profile, under four crop rotation patterns: lentil–wheat–maize, wheat–potato–lentil, wheat–maize–potato, and wheat–flax–pea. The lentil–wheat–maize and wheat–maize–potato rotations have been practiced over the past 20 years, while the wheat–potato–lentil and wheat–flax–pea rotations were established in 1978 (~40 year rotations). The results showed that under the 20-year lentil–wheat–maize rotation, SOC was not significantly different to that of the wheat–maize–potato rotation, at 6.81 g kg−1 and 6.91 g kg−1, respectively. However, under the lentil–wheat–maize rotation, SWC (9.81%) and SBD (1.19 Mg m−3) were significantly higher, but soil pH (8.42) was significantly lower than the same metrics under wheat–maize–potato rotation (8.43% and 1.16 Mg m−3, and 8.50, respectively). For the 40-year rotations, SWC (9.19%) and soil pH (8.41) under the wheat–potato–lentil were not significantly different to that of the wheat–flax–pea (8.87%, and 8.40, respectively). SOC (6.06 g kg−1) was significantly lower, but SBD (1.18 Mg m−3) was significantly higher under the wheat–potato–lentil than the wheat–flax–pea (7.29 g kg−1, and 1.15 Mg m−3, respectively) rotations. Soil carbon sequestration for the lentil–wheat–maize and wheat–potato–lentil rotations was co-influenced by SWC, SBD, and soil pH, while for wheat–maize–potato and wheat–flax–pea rotations, it was co-influenced by SWC and soil pH. The economic value of the four studied crops is, in order: potato > maize > wheat > flax. The results of the present study suggest that the lentil–wheat–maize and maize–flax–pea rotations are the most suitable patterns to optimize simultaneous economic and ecological development of the study area. Full article
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