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Research article2024Peer reviewedOpen access

Organic carbon stabilization in temperate paddy fields and adjacent semi-natural forests along a soil age gradient

Schwarz, Erik; Johansson, Anna; Lerda, Cristina; Livsey, John; Scaini, Anna; Pullicino, Daniel Said-; Manzoni, Stefano

Abstract

Rice paddy soils have high organic carbon (OC) storage potential, but predicting OC stocks in these soils is difficult due to the complex OC stabilization mechanisms under fluctuating redox conditions. Especially in temperate climates, these mechanisms remain understudied and comparisons to OC stocks under natural vegetation are scarce. Semi-natural forests could have similar or higher OC inputs than rice paddies, but in the latter mineralization under anoxic conditions and interactions between OC and redox-sensitive minerals (in particular Fe oxyhydroxides, hereafter referred to as Fe oxides) could promote OC stabilization. Moreover, managementinduced soil redox cycling in rice paddies can interact with pre-existing pedogenetic differences of soils having different degrees of evolution. To disentangle these drivers of soil OC stocks, we focused on a soil age gradient in Northern Italy with a long (30 + years) history of rice cultivation and remnant semi-natural forests. Irrespective of soil age, soils under semi-natural forest and paddy land-use showed comparable OC stocks. While, in topsoil, stocks of crystalline Fe and short-ranged Fe and Al oxides did not differ between land-uses, under paddy management more OC was found in the mineral-associated fraction. This hints to a stronger redox-driven OC stabilization in the paddy topsoil compared to semi-natural forest soils that might compensate for the presumed lower OC inputs under rice cropping. Despite the higher clay contents over the whole profile and more crystalline pedogenetic Fe stocks in the topsoil in older soils, OC stocks were higher in the younger soils, in particular in the 50-70 cm layer, where short-range ordered pedogenetic oxides were also more abundant. These patterns might be explained by differences in hydrological flows responsible for the translocation of Fe and dissolved OC to the subsoil, preferentially in the younger, coarse-textured soils. Taken together, these results indicate the importance of the complex interplay between redox-cycling affected by paddy-management and soilage related hydrological properties.

Keywords

Mineral associated organic carbon; Particulate organic carbon; Fe oxyhydroxides; Rice paddy soil; Soil carbon storage

Published in

Geoderma
2024, Volume: 443, article number: 116825Publisher: ELSEVIER

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Soil Science

    Publication identifier

    DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geoderma.2024.116825

    Permanent link to this page (URI)

    https://res.slu.se/id/publ/129303