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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2018

Organic carbon stocks in topsoil and subsoil in long-term ley and cereal monoculture rotations

Borjesson, Gunnar;Bolinder, Martin A.;Kirchmann, Holger;Katterer, Thomas;

Abstract

Soil organic C (SOC) in agricultural soils is affected by cropping system. In order to compare the impact of ley-dominated and cereal monoculture rotations on soil properties, a series of experiments was started in Sweden in the early 1980s. This study quantified the effect of rotations and N fertilisation on SOC stocks and microbial community composition. After 35 years, soil samples taken down to 50-cmdepth at two sites with contrasting soil texture (clay and loam) were analysed for soil C and N, bulk density and phospholipid fatty acid (PLFA) content. Significant increases in SOC concentrations and stocks were found in the ley-dominated rotation compared with the cereal monoculture rotation, the difference being 0.36 and 0.59 Mg C ha(-1) year(-1) in the topsoil (0-20 cm) for sites with the clay and loam texture, respectively, in average over N fertiliser levels. Nitrogen fertilisation increased SOC stocks significantly in the cereal monoculture, but not in the ley-dominated rotation. In the loam, SOC responses in the subsoil were almost as high as those in the topsoil, but they were insignificant in the clay soil. These results indicate that soil texture and structure can have a great impact on the potential of subsoils to sequester C, which requires attention when scaling up SOC sequestration rates for regional or global assessments.

Keywords

Soil organic matter; Carbon sequestration; Subsoil; Crop rotation; Phospholipid fatty acids

Published in

Biology and Fertility of Soils

2018, volume: 54, number: 4, pages: 549–558

Authors' information

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Soil and Environment
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Ecology
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Soil and Environment
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Ecology

UKÄ Subject classification

Geosciences, Multidisciplinary
Microbiology
Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use

Publication Identifiers

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00374-018-1281-x

URI (permanent link to this page)

https://res.slu.se/id/publ/94842