Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Soil Carbon Storage is Not Always Influenced by Tillage Practices

27.02.2009
Although moldboard plowing combined with mineral N fertilization can lead to decreased organic carbon stocks in the soil surface relative to no-till, this effect is cancelled when the whole profile is considered.

The practice of no-till has increased considerably during the past 20 yr. Soils under no-till usually host a more abundant and diverse biota and are less prone to erosion, water loss, and structural breakdown than tilled soils.

Their organic matter content is also often increased and consequently, no-till is proposed as a measure to mitigate the increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration. However, recent studies show that the effect of no-till on carbon sequestration can be variable depending on soil and climatic conditions, and nutrient management practices.

Researchers at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (Québec City) investigated the impacts of tillage (no-till vs. moldboard plowing) and N and P fertilization on carbon storage in a clay loam soil under cool and humid conditions in eastern Canada. Corn and soybean had been grown in a yearly rotation for 14 yr. The results of the study were reported in the 2009 January-February issue of the Soil Science Society of America Journal.

The authors concluded that their investigation indicates “…no-till enhanced soil organic carbon (SOC) content in the soil surface layer, but moldboard plowing resulted in greater SOC content near the bottom of the plow layer. When the entire soil profile (0-60 cm) was considered, both effects compensated each other which resulted in statistically equivalent SOC stocks for both tillage practices”.

The effects of tillage and N fertilization varied depending on the soil depth considered. When considering only the top 20 cm of soil, the lowest C stocks were measured in the plowed soil with the highest N fertilizer level, whereas the highest SOC stocks were observed in the NT treatment with the highest N rate. The authors hypothesized that while N fertilization favored a greater residue accumulation in the top 20 cm of no-till soils, mixing of crop residue with soil particles and N fertilizer by tillage stimulated the mineralization of residue and native soil carbon. However, when accounting for the whole soil profile, these variations in the surface 20 cm of soil were counterbalanced by significant SOC accumulation in the 20- to 30-cm soil layer of tilled soils, resulting in statistically equivalent SOC stocks for all tillage and N treatments. This study further emphasizes the importance of taking into account the whole soil profile when determining management effects on SOC storage, especially when full-inversion tillage is involved. The authors conclude that “only considering the top 20 cm of soil would have led us to an erroneous evaluation of the interactive effects of tillage and N fertilization on SOC stock”.

Field studies of the impact of tillage and fertilization on carbon storage have yielded contrasting results in various parts of the world. An explanation of the high intersite variability of the influence of no-till on soil carbon storage will require that we understand the impacts of no-till and fertilizer management on SOC sequestration for various soil and climatic conditions. Further, researchers at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada are pursuing their investigations to understand the factors that control the accumulation of soil carbon at depth under moldboard plowing. Specifically, they now focus their efforts on the role of clay particles and soil aggregation in stabilizing carbon.

The full article is available for no charge for 30 days following the date of this summary. View the abstract at http://soil.scijournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/73/1/255.

Soil Science Society of America Journal, http://soil.scijournals.org, is a peer-reviewed international journal published six times a year by the Soil Science Society of America. Its contents focus on research relating to physics; chemistry; biology and biochemistry; fertility and plant nutrition; genesis, morphology, and classification; water management and conservation; forest, range, and wildland soils; nutrient management and soil and plant analysis; mineralogy; and wetland soils.

The Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) is a progressive, international scientific society that fosters the transfer of knowledge and practices to sustain global soils. Based in Madison, WI, and founded in 1936, SSSA is the professional home for 6,000+ members dedicated to advancing the field of soil science. It provides information about soils in relation to crop production, environmental quality, ecosystem sustainability, bioremediation, waste management, recycling, and wise land use.

SSSA supports its members by providing quality research-based publications, educational programs, certifications, and science policy initiatives via a Washington, DC, office. For more information, visit www.soils.org.

SSSA is the founding sponsor of an approximately 5,000-square foot exhibition, Dig It! The Secrets of Soil, which opened on July 19, 2008 at the Smithsonian's Natural History Museum in Washington, DC.

Sara Uttech | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.soils.org

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Fighting a destructive crop disease with mathematics
21.06.2017 | University of Cambridge

nachricht Unusual soybean coloration sheds a light on gene silencing
20.06.2017 | University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Equipping form with function

23.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>