Special Issue "Soil Management for Sustainability"

A special issue of Land (ISSN 2073-445X). This special issue belongs to the section "Soil-Sediment-Water Systems".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (28 February 2021) | Viewed by 23283

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Special Issue Editors

Dr. Chiara Piccini
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Council for Agricultural Research and Economics (CREA), Research Centre for Agriculture and Environment - Via della Navicella, 2-4, 00184 Rome, Italy
Interests: geostatistics; digital soil mapping; soil science; sustainable agriculture; soil and water conservation
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Rosa Francaviglia
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Council for Agricultural Research and Economics (CREA), Research Centre for Agriculture and Environment - Via della Navicella, 2-4, 00184 Rome, Italy
Interests: carbon sink in agricultural soils; cropping systems diversification and simulation models; climate change adaptation and mitigation in agriculture
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Soils are an essential and non-renewable natural resource, supplying goods and services fundamental to ecosystems and human life. Soils are necessary for producing crops, feed, fiber, and fuel, in addition to filtering and cleaning water. As a major carbon sink, soils also help regulate emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, which is fundamental for regulating the climate. Nevertheless, evidence recently provided in the Status of the World’s Soil Resources report and other studies show that about one-third of global soils are moderately or highly degraded due to unsustainable management practices, aggravated by increased frequency of extreme weather events. Particularly in agricultural soils, there is a continuing degradation trend arising from highly intensive agricultural systems, even if reduced tillage, crop rotations, and cover crops are spreading.

Soil management is sustainable if “the supporting, provisioning, regulating, and cultural services provided by soil are maintained or enhanced without significantly impairing either the soil functions that enable those services, or biodiversity”. Thus, sustainable soil management (SSM) is crucial to effective soil functioning, strongly contributing also to climate change adaptation and mitigation, combating desertification, and promoting biodiversity. SSM is an integral part of sustainable land management, thus a territorial perspective is important in such studies.

In this Special Issue, we welcome both research and review papers focusing on, but not limited to, the following topics:

  • Minimizing soil erosion;
  • Enhancing soil organic matter content;
  • Fostering soil nutrient balance and cycles;
  • Preventing, minimizing, and mitigating soil salinization and alkalinization;
  • Preventing and minimizing soil contamination;
  • Preventing and minimizing soil acidification;
  • Preserving and enhancing soil biodiversity;
  • Minimizing soil sealing;
  • Preventing and mitigating soil compaction;
  • Improving soil water management.

Dr. Chiara Piccini
Dr. Rosa Francaviglia
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Land is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • soil erosion
  • soil organic matter content
  • soil nutrient balance and cycles
  • soil salinization and alkalinization
  • soil contamination
  • soil acidification
  • soil biodiversity
  • soil sealing
  • soil compaction
  • soil water management

Published Papers (17 papers)

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Research

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Article
Cultivated Land Use Zoning Based on Soil Function Evaluation from the Perspective of Black Soil Protection
Land 2021, 10(6), 605; https://doi.org/10.3390/land10060605 - 07 Jun 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 941
Abstract
Given that cultivated land serves as a strategic resource to ensure national food security, blind emphasis on improvement of food production capacity can lead to soil overutilization and impair other soil functions. Therefore, we took Heilongjiang province as an example to conduct a [...] Read more.
Given that cultivated land serves as a strategic resource to ensure national food security, blind emphasis on improvement of food production capacity can lead to soil overutilization and impair other soil functions. Therefore, we took Heilongjiang province as an example to conduct a multi-functional evaluation of soil at the provincial scale. A combination of soil, climate, topography, land use, and remote sensing data were used to evaluate the functions of primary productivity, provision and cycling of nutrients, provision of functional and intrinsic biodiversity, water purification and regulation, and carbon sequestration and regulation of cultivated land in 2018. We designed a soil function discriminant matrix, constructed the supply-demand ratio, and evaluated the current status of supply and demand of soil functions. Soil functions demonstrated a distribution pattern of high grade in the northeast and low grade in the southwest, mostly in second-level areas. The actual supply of primary productivity functions in 71.32% of the region cannot meet the current needs of the population. The dominant function of soil in 34.89% of the area is water purification and regulation, and most of the cultivated land belongs to the functional balance region. The results presented herein provide a theoretical basis for optimization of land patterns and improvement of cultivated land use management on a large scale, and is of great significance to the sustainable use of black soil resources and improvement of comprehensive benefits. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil Management for Sustainability)
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Article
Response of Gross Mineralization and Nitrification Rates to Banana Cultivation Sites Converted from Natural Forest in Subtropical China
Land 2021, 10(4), 376; https://doi.org/10.3390/land10040376 - 04 Apr 2021
Viewed by 705
Abstract
Evaluations of gross mineralization (MNorg) and nitrification (ONH4) can be used to evaluate the supply capacity of inorganic N, which is crucial in determining appropriate N fertilizer application. However, the relevant research for banana plantations to date is limited. [...] Read more.
Evaluations of gross mineralization (MNorg) and nitrification (ONH4) can be used to evaluate the supply capacity of inorganic N, which is crucial in determining appropriate N fertilizer application. However, the relevant research for banana plantations to date is limited. In this study, natural forest and banana plantations with different cultivation ages (3, 7, 10, and 22 y) were chosen in a subtropical region, and the 15N dilution technique was used to determine the gross MNorg and ONH4 rates. The objective was to evaluate the effect of the conversion of natural forests to banana plantations on inorganic N supply capacity (MNorg + ONH4) and other relevant factors. Compared to other natural forests in tropical and subtropical regions reported on by previous studies, the natural forest in this study was characterized by a relatively low MNorg rate and a high ONH4 rate in the soil, resulting in the presence of inorganic N dominated by nitrate. Compared to the natural forest, 3 y banana cultivation increased the MNorg and ONH4 rates and inorganic N availability in the soil, but these rates were significantly reduced with prolonged banana cultivation. Furthermore, the mean residence times of ammonium and nitrate were shorter in the 3 y than in the 7, 10, and 22 y banana plantations, indicating a reduced turnover of ammonium and nitrate in soil subjected to long-term banana cultivation. In addition, the conversion of natural forest to banana plantation reduced the soil organic carbon (SOC), total N and calcium concentrations, as well as water holding capacity (WHC), cation exchangeable capacity (CEC), and pH, more obviously in soils subjected to long-term banana cultivation. The MNorg and ONH4 rates were significantly and positively related to the SOC and TN concentrations, as well as the WHC and CEC, suggesting that the decline in soil quality after long-term banana cultivation could significantly inhibit MNorg and ONH4 rates, thus reducing inorganic N supply and turnover. Increasing the amount of soil organic matter may be an effective measure for stimulating N cycling for long-term banana cultivation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil Management for Sustainability)
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Article
Responses of Soil Infiltration to Water Retention Characteristics, Initial Conditions, and Boundary Conditions
Land 2021, 10(4), 361; https://doi.org/10.3390/land10040361 - 01 Apr 2021
Viewed by 521
Abstract
(1) Background: Simulation of soil water infiltration process and analysis of its influencing factors are important for water resources management. (2) Methods: In this study, the relative contributions of the soil water retention characteristics (SWRC) estimation, initial water content, and constant pressure head [...] Read more.
(1) Background: Simulation of soil water infiltration process and analysis of its influencing factors are important for water resources management. (2) Methods: In this study, the relative contributions of the soil water retention characteristics (SWRC) estimation, initial water content, and constant pressure head at upper boundary to the cumulative infiltration under various soil conditions were quantified based on the 1-D Richards’ equation and 900 scenarios. Scenario simulations were performed for two SWRC estimation methods (Jensen method and Rosetta); three different initial water contents (0.15, 0.20, and 0.25 cm3/cm3); five different constant pressure heads (0.5, 1, 2, 4, and 8 cm); and thirty soil samples with varying texture and bulk density. (3) Results: Rosetta representing the drying branch of the SWRC yielded higher simulated cumulative infiltration compared with the Jensen method representing the wetting branch of the SWRC. However, the Jensen method–predicted cumulative infiltration fluxes matched well with the measured values with a low RMSE of 0.80 cm. (4) Conclusions: The relative contribution of the SWRC estimation method to cumulative infiltration (19.1–72.2%) was compared to that of constant pressure head (14.0–65.5%), and generally greater than that of initial water content (2.2–29.9%). Findings of this study have practical significance for investigating the transport of water, nutrients, and contaminants in the unsaturated zone. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil Management for Sustainability)
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Article
Effects of Land-Use Change on Soil Functionality and Biodiversity: Toward Sustainable Planning of New Vineyards
Land 2021, 10(4), 358; https://doi.org/10.3390/land10040358 - 01 Apr 2021
Viewed by 964
Abstract
Sustainable agriculture largely depends on soil biodiversity and requires efficient methods to assess the effectiveness of agronomic planning. Knowledge of the landscape and relative pedosite is enriched by data on the soil microarthropod community, which represent useful bio-indicators for early soil-quality detection in [...] Read more.
Sustainable agriculture largely depends on soil biodiversity and requires efficient methods to assess the effectiveness of agronomic planning. Knowledge of the landscape and relative pedosite is enriched by data on the soil microarthropod community, which represent useful bio-indicators for early soil-quality detection in land-use change (LUC). In the hilly Maremma region of Grosseto, Italy, two areas, a >10ys meadow converted into a vineyard and an old biodynamic vineyard (no-LUC), were selected for evaluating the LUC effect. For maintaining soil vitality and ecosystem services by meadow, the vineyard was planted and cultivated using criteria of the patented “Corino method”. The aim was to evaluate the LUC impact, within one year, by assessing parameters characterizing soil properties and soil microarthropod communities after the vineyard was planted. The adopted preservative method in the new vineyards did not show a detrimental impact on the biodiversity of soil microarthropods, and in particular, additional mulching contributed to a quick recovery from soil stress due to working the plantation. In the short term, the adopted agricultural context confirmed that the targeted objectives preserved the soil quality and functionality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil Management for Sustainability)
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Article
Impacts of Agricultural Land Reclamation on Soil Nutrient Contents, Pools, Stoichiometry, and Their Relationship to Oat Growth on the East China Coast
Land 2021, 10(4), 355; https://doi.org/10.3390/land10040355 - 01 Apr 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 719
Abstract
Agricultural land reclamation of coastal tidal land (CTL) with organic amendments may modulate the soil properties, and therefore promote crop growth. However, the linkages between soil nutrient contents, pools, stoichiometry, and crop growth under the supplement of organic amendments in CTL is limited. [...] Read more.
Agricultural land reclamation of coastal tidal land (CTL) with organic amendments may modulate the soil properties, and therefore promote crop growth. However, the linkages between soil nutrient contents, pools, stoichiometry, and crop growth under the supplement of organic amendments in CTL is limited. In this study, six treatments including the control (CK), organic manure (OM), polyacrylamide plus organic manure (PAM + OM), straw mulching plus organic manure (SM + OM), buried straw plus organic manure (BS + OM), and bio-organic manure plus organic manure (BM + OM) were conducted to explore these linkages in newly reclaimed CTL in Jiangsu Province, eastern China. The results showed that the application of different soil reclamation treatments increased soil nutrient contents, pools, and modulated their stoichiometric ratio, which thus promoted the growth of oat. Soil under all reclamation treatments increased the contents of surface soil organic carbon (SOC), total nitrogen (TN), and total phosphorus (TP), and the BM + OM treatment had the highest increase, which increased by 11.7–182.4%, 24.3–85.7%, 3.2–29.4%, respectively. The highest soil C pools were observed in the oat heading stage (36.67–41.34 Mg C ha−1), whereas the soil N and P pools were more stable during the oat growth period. Similarly, the highest surface soil C/N and C/P were observed in the oat heading stage (11.23–14.67 and 8.97–14.21), whereas the N/P in surface soil increased compared with the CK treatment during the oat growth period, with the exception of the filling stage. Land reclamation treatments significantly promoted oat growth by changing soil C, N, and P contents, pools, and stoichiometry, among which soil SOC, TN, TP, C/P, and N/P are more closely related to oat growth (p < 0.05). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil Management for Sustainability)
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Article
Soil Carbon Regulating Ecosystem Services in the State of South Carolina, USA
Land 2021, 10(3), 309; https://doi.org/10.3390/land10030309 - 17 Mar 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1208
Abstract
Sustainable management of soil carbon (C) at the state level requires valuation of soil C regulating ecosystem services (ES) and disservices (ED). The objective of this study was to assess the value of regulating ES from soil organic carbon (SOC), soil inorganic carbon [...] Read more.
Sustainable management of soil carbon (C) at the state level requires valuation of soil C regulating ecosystem services (ES) and disservices (ED). The objective of this study was to assess the value of regulating ES from soil organic carbon (SOC), soil inorganic carbon (SIC), and total soil carbon (TSC) stocks, based on the concept of the avoided social cost of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions for the state of South Carolina (SC) in the United States of America (U.S.A.) by soil order, soil depth (0–200 cm), region and county using information from the State Soil Geographic (STATSGO) database. The total estimated monetary mid-point value for TSC in the state of South Carolina was $124.36B (i.e., $124.36 billion U.S. dollars, where B = billion = 109), $107.14B for SOC, and $17.22B for SIC. Soil orders with the highest midpoint value for SOC were: Ultisols ($64.35B), Histosols ($11.22B), and Inceptisols ($10.31B). Soil orders with the highest midpoint value for SIC were: Inceptisols ($5.91B), Entisols ($5.53B), and Alfisols ($5.0B). Soil orders with the highest midpoint value for TSC were: Ultisols ($64.35B), Inceptisols ($16.22B), and Entisols ($14.65B). The regions with the highest midpoint SOC values were: Pee Dee ($34.24B), Low Country ($32.17B), and Midlands ($29.24B). The regions with the highest midpoint SIC values were: Low Country ($5.69B), Midlands ($5.55B), and Pee Dee ($4.67B). The regions with the highest midpoint TSC values were: Low Country ($37.86B), Pee Dee ($36.91B), and Midlands ($34.79B). The counties with the highest midpoint SOC values were Colleton ($5.44B), Horry ($5.37B), and Berkeley ($4.12B). The counties with the highest midpoint SIC values were Charleston ($1.46B), Georgetown ($852.81M, where M = million = 106), and Horry ($843.18M). The counties with the highest midpoint TSC values were Horry ($6.22B), Colleton ($6.02B), and Georgetown ($4.87B). Administrative areas (e.g., counties, regions) combined with pedodiversity concepts can provide useful information to design cost-efficient policies to manage soil carbon regulating ES at the state level. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil Management for Sustainability)
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Article
Soil Diversity (Pedodiversity) and Ecosystem Services
Land 2021, 10(3), 288; https://doi.org/10.3390/land10030288 - 11 Mar 2021
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2156
Abstract
Soil ecosystem services (ES) (e.g., provisioning, regulation/maintenance, and cultural) and ecosystem disservices (ED) are dependent on soil diversity/pedodiversity (variability of soils), which needs to be accounted for in the economic analysis and business decision-making. The concept of pedodiversity (biotic + abiotic) is highly [...] Read more.
Soil ecosystem services (ES) (e.g., provisioning, regulation/maintenance, and cultural) and ecosystem disservices (ED) are dependent on soil diversity/pedodiversity (variability of soils), which needs to be accounted for in the economic analysis and business decision-making. The concept of pedodiversity (biotic + abiotic) is highly complex and can be broadly interpreted because it is formed from the interaction of atmospheric diversity (abiotic + biotic), biodiversity (biotic), hydrodiversity (abiotic + biotic), and lithodiversity (abiotic) within ecosphere and anthroposphere. Pedodiversity is influenced by intrinsic (within the soil) and extrinsic (outside soil) factors, which are also relevant to ES/ED. Pedodiversity concepts and measures may need to be adapted to the ES framework and business applications. Currently, there are four main approaches to analyze pedodiversity: taxonomic (diversity of soil classes), genetic (diversity of genetic horizons), parametric (diversity of soil properties), and functional (soil behavior under different uses). The objective of this article is to illustrate the application of pedodiversity concepts and measures to value ES/ED with examples based on the contiguous United States (U.S.), its administrative units, and the systems of soil classification (e.g., U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Soil Taxonomy, Soil Survey Geographic (SSURGO) Database). This study is based on a combination of original research and literature review examples. Taxonomic pedodiversity in the contiguous U.S. exhibits high soil diversity, with 11 soil orders, 65 suborders, 317 great groups, 2026 subgroups, and 19,602 series. The ranking of “soil order abundance” (area of each soil order within the U.S.) expressed as the proportion of the total area is: (1) Mollisols (27%), (2) Alfisols (17%), (3) Entisols (14%), (4) Inceptisols and Aridisols (11% each), (5) Spodosols (3%), (6) Vertisols (2%), and (7) Histosols and Andisols (1% each). Taxonomic, genetic, parametric, and functional pedodiversity are an essential context for analyzing, interpreting, and reporting ES/ED within the ES framework. Although each approach can be used separately, three of these approaches (genetic, parametric, and functional) fall within the “umbrella” of taxonomic pedodiversity, which separates soils based on properties important to potential use. Extrinsic factors play a major role in pedodiversity and should be accounted for in ES/ED valuation based on various databases (e.g., National Atmospheric Deposition Program (NADP) databases). Pedodiversity is crucial in identifying soil capacity (pedocapacity) and “hotspots” of ES/ED as part of business decision making to provide more sustainable use of soil resources. Pedodiversity is not a static construct but is highly dynamic, and various human activities (e.g., agriculture, urbanization) can lead to soil degradation and even soil extinction. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil Management for Sustainability)
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Article
Characterization of Soil Carbon Stocks in the City of Johannesburg
Land 2021, 10(1), 83; https://doi.org/10.3390/land10010083 - 18 Jan 2021
Viewed by 969
Abstract
Soil organic carbon (SOC) is a crucial indicator of soil health and soil productivity. The long-term implications of rapid urbanization on sustainability have, in recent years, raised concern. This study aimed to characterize the SOC stocks in the Johannesburg Granite Dome, a highly [...] Read more.
Soil organic carbon (SOC) is a crucial indicator of soil health and soil productivity. The long-term implications of rapid urbanization on sustainability have, in recent years, raised concern. This study aimed to characterize the SOC stocks in the Johannesburg Granite Dome, a highly urbanized and contaminated area. Six soil hydropedological groups; (recharge (deep), recharge (shallow), responsive (shallow), responsive (saturated), interflow (A/B), and interflow (soil/bedrock)) were identified to determine the vertical distribution of the SOC stocks and assess the variation among the soil groups. The carbon (C) content, bulk density, and soil depth were determined for all soil groups, and thereafter the SOC stocks were calculated. Organic C stocks in the A horizon ranged, on average, from 33.55 ± 21.73 t C ha−1 for recharge (deep) soils to 17.11 ± 7.62 t C ha−1 for responsive (shallow) soils. Higher C contents in some soils did not necessarily indicate higher SOC stocks due to the combined influence of soil depth and bulk density. Additionally, the total SOC stocks ranged from 92.82 ± 39.2 t C ha−1 for recharge (deep) soils to 22.81 ± 16.84 t C ha−1 for responsive (shallow) soils. Future studies should determine the SOC stocks in urban areas, taking diverse land-uses and the presence of iron (Fe) oxides into consideration. This is crucial for understanding urban ecosystem functions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil Management for Sustainability)
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Article
Spatial Variations of Vegetation Index from Remote Sensing Linked to Soil Colloidal Status
Land 2021, 10(1), 80; https://doi.org/10.3390/land10010080 - 17 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 3023
Abstract
Recent decades have seen a progressive degradation of soils owing to an intensification of farming practices (weeding and high trafficking), increasing use of pesticides and fertilizers, mainly nitrogen, resulting in a steady decline in soil organic matter, a key component to maintain soil [...] Read more.
Recent decades have seen a progressive degradation of soils owing to an intensification of farming practices (weeding and high trafficking), increasing use of pesticides and fertilizers, mainly nitrogen, resulting in a steady decline in soil organic matter, a key component to maintain soil fertility. The work has coupled the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) of wheat cultivation in Central Italy to soil properties where the wheat was grown to identify the properties linked to within-field variability in productivity. NDVI was assessed through Copernicus Sentinel-2 (S-2) data during the wheat anthesis phase. The main outcome showed a significant correlation of NDVI variability to soil colloidal status and to the relative quantity in the exchange complex of the Ca2+ ions. No relationship emerged between NDVI and soil macronutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium) concentration. The work suggested that such elements (nitrogen, especially) should not be provided solely considering the vegetation index spatial variations. Rational and sustainable management of soil fertility requires the integration of the NDVI data with the whole complex of soil physical/chemical status. In this way, the identification of the real key factors of fertility will avoid the negative impact of overfertilization. As an example, a fertilization plan was simulated for the sunflower–wheat sequence. The results showed that in the study area additional supplies of N and K would be unnecessary. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil Management for Sustainability)
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Article
Soil-Quality Assessment during the Dry Season in the Mun River Basin Thailand
Land 2021, 10(1), 61; https://doi.org/10.3390/land10010061 - 12 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 709
Abstract
The Mun River Basin is one of Thailand’s major grain-producing areas, but the production is insufficient, and most of the cultivated lands are rain-fed and always unused in the dry season. All this makes it necessary to determine the status of soil nutrients [...] Read more.
The Mun River Basin is one of Thailand’s major grain-producing areas, but the production is insufficient, and most of the cultivated lands are rain-fed and always unused in the dry season. All this makes it necessary to determine the status of soil nutrients and soil quality in the dry season to improve soil conditions, which will be useful for cultivation in the farming period. The aim of this study was to construct a soil-quality assessment based on soil samples, and in the process the minimum data set theory was introduced to screen the assessment indicators. The geographically weighted regression method was used to complete the spatial interpolation process of indicators, and the fuzzy logic model was constructed to evaluate the soil quality. The results showed that the spatial distributions of soil quality and indicators were similar. The soil quality was the best in the upstream while poor in the downstream, and the dry fields in the west and the forests in the east of the basin were better than other areas nearby. However; the soil qualities of paddy fields in the middle and east of the basin were poor due to the lack of soil nutrient supply when the fields were unused Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil Management for Sustainability)
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Article
Growth of Common Plants of Boreal Reclamation Sites in Oil Sands Tailings Cake Mixes and Process Water
Land 2021, 10(1), 25; https://doi.org/10.3390/land10010025 - 30 Dec 2020
Viewed by 751
Abstract
Oil sands surface mining and processing in Alberta generate large volumes of fluid tailings and process water high in salts and metals, which must be reclaimed. We investigated growth of four common plants (two native and two non-native) found in boreal oil sands [...] Read more.
Oil sands surface mining and processing in Alberta generate large volumes of fluid tailings and process water high in salts and metals, which must be reclaimed. We investigated growth of four common plants (two native and two non-native) found in boreal oil sands reclamation sites as influenced by substrate type (tailings cake, and mixtures of cake-sand, cake-peat, and cake-forest floor mineral mix) and water quality (0%, 50%, and 100% oil sands process water). Overall, cake-peat supported the highest aboveground biomass among substrates whereas cake and cake-sand performed poorly, possibly due to high sodium and chloride concentrations. Adding process water to substrates generally reduced growth or increased mortality. Grasses had greater growth than forbs, and for each functional group, non-native species performed better than native species. Hordeum vulgare had the highest overall growth with no mortality followed by Agropyron trachycaulum with negligible (0.5%) mortality. Chamerion angustifolium was most affected by the treatments with the lowest growth and highest mortality (56%). Sonchus arvensis had higher growth than C. angustifolium but its slow growth makes it less suitable for reclaiming tailings. Our results indicate that H. vulgare and A. trachycaulum could be good candidates for use in initial reclamation of oil sands tailings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil Management for Sustainability)
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Article
Using Machine Learning Algorithms to Estimate Soil Organic Carbon Variability with Environmental Variables and Soil Nutrient Indicators in an Alluvial Soil
Land 2020, 9(12), 487; https://doi.org/10.3390/land9120487 - 02 Dec 2020
Cited by 32 | Viewed by 2212
Abstract
Soil organic carbon (SOC) is an important indicator of soil quality and directly determines soil fertility. Hence, understanding its spatial distribution and controlling factors is necessary for efficient and sustainable soil nutrient management. In this study, machine learning algorithms including artificial neural network [...] Read more.
Soil organic carbon (SOC) is an important indicator of soil quality and directly determines soil fertility. Hence, understanding its spatial distribution and controlling factors is necessary for efficient and sustainable soil nutrient management. In this study, machine learning algorithms including artificial neural network (ANN), support vector machine (SVM), cubist regression, random forests (RF), and multiple linear regression (MLR) were chosen for advancing the prediction of SOC. A total of sixty (n = 60) soil samples were collected within the research area at 30 cm soil depth and measured for SOC content using the Walkley–Black method. From these samples, 80% were used for model training and 21 auxiliary data were included as predictors. The predictors include effective cation exchange capacity (ECEC), base saturation (BS), calcium to magnesium ratio (Ca_Mg), potassium to magnesium ratio (K_Mg), potassium to calcium ratio (K_Ca), elevation, plan curvature, total catchment area, channel network base level, topographic wetness index, clay index, iron index, normalized difference build-up index (NDBI), ratio vegetation index (RVI), soil adjusted vegetation index (SAVI), normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), normalized difference moisture index (NDMI) and land surface temperature (LST). Mean absolute error (MAE), root-mean-square error (RMSE) and R2 were used to determine the model performance. The result showed the mean SOC to be 1.62% with a coefficient of variation (CV) of 47%. The best performing model was RF (R2 = 0.68) followed by the cubist model (R2 = 0.51), SVM (R2 = 0.36), ANN (R2 = 0.36) and MLR (R2 = 0.17). The soil nutrient indicators, topographic wetness index and total catchment area were considered an indicator for spatial prediction of SOC in flat homogenous topography. Future studies should include other auxiliary predictors (e.g., soil physical and chemical properties, and lithological data) as well as cover a broader range of soil types to improve model performance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil Management for Sustainability)
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Article
Predicted Maps for Soil Organic Matter Evaluation: The Case of Abruzzo Region (Italy)
Land 2020, 9(10), 349; https://doi.org/10.3390/land9100349 - 24 Sep 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1411
Abstract
Organic matter, an important component of healthy soils, may be used as an indicator in sustainability assessments. Managing soil carbon storage can foster agricultural productivity and environmental quality, reducing the severity and costs of natural phenomena. Thus, accurately estimating the spatial variability of [...] Read more.
Organic matter, an important component of healthy soils, may be used as an indicator in sustainability assessments. Managing soil carbon storage can foster agricultural productivity and environmental quality, reducing the severity and costs of natural phenomena. Thus, accurately estimating the spatial variability of soil organic matter (SOM) is crucial for sustainable soil management when planning agro-environmental measures at the regional level. SOM variability is very large in Italy, and soil organic carbon (SOC) surveys considering such variability are difficult and onerous. The study concerns the Abruzzo Region (about 10,800 km2), in Central Italy, where data from 1753 soil profiles were available, together with a Digital Elevation Model (DEM) and Landsat images. Some morphometric parameters and spectral indices with a significant degree of correlation with measured data were used as predictors for regression-kriging (RK) application. Estimated map of SOC stocks, and of SOM related to USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) texture—an additional indicator of soil quality—were produced with a satisfactory level of accuracy. Results showed that SOC stocks and SOM concentrations in relation to texture were lower in the hilly area along the shoreline, pointing out the need to improve soil management to guarantee agricultural land sustainability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil Management for Sustainability)
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Article
A Spatial-Temporal Analysis of the Effects of Households’ Land-use Behaviors on Soil Available Potassium in Cropland: A Case Study from Urban Peripheral Region in Northeast China
Land 2020, 9(5), 160; https://doi.org/10.3390/land9050160 - 20 May 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1093
Abstract
Available potassium (AVK) in the soil of cropland is one of the most important factors determining soil quality and agricultural productivity. Thus, it is crucial to understand the variation of AVK and its influencing factors for sustaining soil fertility and mitigating land degradation. [...] Read more.
Available potassium (AVK) in the soil of cropland is one of the most important factors determining soil quality and agricultural productivity. Thus, it is crucial to understand the variation of AVK and its influencing factors for sustaining soil fertility and mitigating land degradation. Farm households are the ultimate land users, and their land-use behaviors inevitably play an important role in the variation of AVK. This paper, therefore, aims to explore the effects of households’ land-use behaviors on soil AVK from spatial and temporal perspectives. Taking an urban peripheral region in Northeast China as the study area, we firstly use geostatistics (Kriging interpolation) and GIS tools to map out the spatial AVK distributions in 1980, 2000, and 2010, based on soil sampling data points, and then assess the impacts of land-use behaviors on AVK using econometric models. The results show that, although the AVK content in the study area has a largely downward trend over the 30 years, there are distinct trends in different stages. The disparity of trends can be attributed to the changes in households’ land-use behaviors over time. The spatial variation of AVK is also substantial and intriguing: the closer to the urban area, the greater the decline of soil AVK content, while the farther away from the urban area, the greater the rise of soil AVK content. This spatial disparity can too be largely explained by the obvious differences in households’ land-use behaviors in various regions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil Management for Sustainability)
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Article
A Comparative Analysis of a Detailed and Semi-Detailed Soil Mapping for Sustainable Land Management Using Conventional and Currently Applied Methodologies in Greece
Land 2020, 9(5), 154; https://doi.org/10.3390/land9050154 - 15 May 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2015
Abstract
Two soil mapping methodologies at different scales applied in the same area were compared in order to investigate the potential of their combined use to achieve an integrated and more accurate soil description for sustainable land use management. The two methodologies represent the [...] Read more.
Two soil mapping methodologies at different scales applied in the same area were compared in order to investigate the potential of their combined use to achieve an integrated and more accurate soil description for sustainable land use management. The two methodologies represent the main types of soil mapping systems used and still applied in soil surveys in Greece. Diomedes Botanical Garden (DBG) (Athens, Greece) was used as a study area because past cartographic data of soil survey were available. The older soil survey data were obtained via the conventional methodology extensively used over time since the beginnings of soil mapping in Greece (1977). The second mapping methodology constitutes the current soil mapping system in Greece recently used for compilation of the national soil map. The obtained cartographic and soil data resulting from the application of the two methodologies were analyzed and compared using appropriate geospatial techniques. Even though the two mapping methodologies have been performed at different mapping scales, using partially different mapping symbols and different soil classification systems, the description of the soils based on the cartographic symbols of the two methodologies presented an agreement of 63.7% while the soil classification by the two taxonomic systems namely Soil Taxonomy and World Reference Base for Soil Resources had an average coincidence of 69.5%. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil Management for Sustainability)
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Article
Soil Carbon, Nitrogen and Phosphorus Contents along a Gradient of Agricultural Intensity in the Kilombero Valley, Tanzania
Land 2020, 9(4), 121; https://doi.org/10.3390/land9040121 - 18 Apr 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1467
Abstract
The preservation of soils which provide many important services to society is a pressing global issue. This is particularly the case in countries like Tanzania, which will experience rapid population growth over coming decades. The country is also currently experiencing rapid land-use change [...] Read more.
The preservation of soils which provide many important services to society is a pressing global issue. This is particularly the case in countries like Tanzania, which will experience rapid population growth over coming decades. The country is also currently experiencing rapid land-use change and increasing intensification of its agricultural systems to ensure sufficient food production. However, little is known regarding what the long term effects of this land use change will be, especially concerning soil quality. Therefore, we assessed the effect of irrigation and fertilization in agricultural systems, going from low intensity smallholder to high intensity commercial production, on soil organic carbon (SOC), total nitrogen (TN), and total phosphorous (TP) concentrations and stocks. Soil sampling was conducted within Kilombero Plantations Ltd. (KPL), a high intensity commercial farm located in Kilombero, Tanzania, and also on surrounding smallholder farms, capturing a gradient of agricultural intensity. We found that irrigation had a positive effect on SOC concentrations and stocks while fertilization had a negative effect. Rain-fed non-fertilized production had no effect on soil properties when compared to native vegetation. No difference was found in concentrations of TN or TP across the intensity gradient. However, TN stocks were significantly larger in the surface soils (0–30 cm) of the most intensive production system when compared to native vegetation and smallholder production. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil Management for Sustainability)
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Review

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Review
Soil Protection in Floodplains—A Review
Land 2021, 10(2), 149; https://doi.org/10.3390/land10020149 - 03 Feb 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 895
Abstract
Soils in floodplains and riparian zones provide important ecosystem functions and services. These ecosystems belong to the most threatened ecosystems worldwide. Therefore, the management of floodplains has changed from river control to the restoration of rivers and floodplains. However, restoration activities can also [...] Read more.
Soils in floodplains and riparian zones provide important ecosystem functions and services. These ecosystems belong to the most threatened ecosystems worldwide. Therefore, the management of floodplains has changed from river control to the restoration of rivers and floodplains. However, restoration activities can also negatively impact soils in these areas. Thus, a detailed knowledge of the soils is needed to prevent detrimental soil changes. The aim of this review is therefore to assess the kind and extent of soil information used in research on floodplains and riparian zones. This article is based on a quantitative literature search. Soil information of 100 research articles was collected. Soil properties were divided into physical, chemical, biological, and detailed soil classification. Some kind of soil information like classification is used in 97 articles, but often there is no complete description of the soils and only single parameters are described. Physical soil properties are mentioned in 76 articles, chemical soil properties in 56 articles, biological soil properties in 21 articles, and a detailed soil classification is provided in 32 articles. It is recommended to integrate at least a minimum data set on soil information in all research conducted in floodplains and riparian zones. This minimum data set comprises soil types, coarse fragments, texture and structure of the soil, bulk density, pH, soil organic matter, water content, rooting depth, and calcium carbonate content. Additionally, the nutrient and/or pollution status might be a useful parameter. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil Management for Sustainability)
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