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Forskningsartikel - Refereegranskat, 2020

The influence of soil management on soil health: An on-farm study in southern Sweden

Williams, Hanna; Colombi, Tino; Keller, Thomas


Soil health reflects the capacity of a soil to provide ecosystem services. A major challenge of soil management is to support agricultural productivity without jeopardizing other ecosystem services. However, there is relatively little knowledge on how soil management affects soil health in real farm settings. This study investigated the impact of soil management on soil health indicators of 20 farm fields in southern Sweden. In addition, we collected samples from an adjacent unmanaged soil at each field, representing the potential soil health at each site. Soil health was quantified by measuring soil physical and biological indicators: wet aggregate stability, autoclaved-citrate extractable soil protein, organic matter, active carbon and heterotrophic soil respiration. Soil texture and pH were also measured. A soil management index was calculated for each field based on crop diversity, soil tillage, and application of organic amendments. Thereby, a high management index indicated a higher crop diversity, fewer tillage operations, and a higher number of organic amendments. Fields with a higher soil management index showed better soil health, with higher levels of aggregate stability, protein, active carbon, respiration, and organic matter. We found that soil management significantly affected all soil health indicators. Soil health of farm fields was generally poorer in comparison with unmanaged soil. Notably, the ratio of soil health of farm fields to unmanaged soils significantly increased with increasing soil management index. Our study shows that soil management is key for soil health, and that improved soil management comprising crop diversity, omission of tillage, and application of organic amendments promotes soil health.


Soil quality; Soil management; On-farm study; Crop rotation; Tillage; Organic matter inputs

Publicerad i

2020, Volym: 360, artikelnummer: 114010
Utgivare: ELSEVIER