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  • 1
    Language: English
    In: Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 15 August 2013, Vol.176, pp.39-52
    Description: Agricultural soils have a high potential for sequestration of atmospheric carbon due to their volume and several promising management options. However, there is a remarkable lack of information about the of organic carbon in agricultural soils. In this study a comprehensive data set of 384 cropland soils and 333 grassland soils within the state of Bavaria in southeast Germany was analyzed in order to provide representative information on total amount, regional distribution and driving parameters of soil organic carbon (SOC) and nitrogen (N) in agricultural soils of central Europe. The results showed that grassland soils stored higher amounts of SOC (11.8 kg m ) and N (0.92 kg m ) than cropland soils (9.0 and 0.66 kg m , respectively) due to moisture-induced accumulation of soil organic matter (SOM) in B horizons. Surprisingly, no distinct differences were found for the A horizons since tillage led to a relocation of SOM with depth in cropland soils. Statistical analyses of driving factors for SOM storage revealed soil moisture, represented by the topographic wetness index (TWI), as the most important parameter for both cropland and grassland soils. Climate effects (mean annual temperature and precipitation) were of minor importance in agricultural soils because management options counteracted them to a certain extent, particularly in cropland soils. The distribution of SOC and N stocks within Bavaria based on agricultural regions confirmed the importance of soil moisture since the highest cropland SOC and N stocks were found for tertiary hills and loess regions, which exhibited large areas with potentially high soil moisture content in extant floodplains. Grassland soils showed the highest accumulation of SOC and N in the Alps and Pre-Alps as a result of low temperatures, high amounts of precipitation and high soil moisture content in areas of glacial denudation. Soil class was identified as a further driving parameter for SOC and N storage in cropland soils. In total, cropland and grassland soils in Bavaria store 242 and 134 Mt SOC as well as 19 and 12 Mt N down to a soil depth of 1 m or the parent material, respectively.
    Keywords: Soil Organic Carbon Stocks ; Topographic Wetness Index (Twi) ; Soil Moisture ; Carbon Sequestration ; Agricultural Soils ; Agriculture ; Environmental Sciences
    ISSN: 0167-8809
    E-ISSN: 1873-2305
    Source: ScienceDirect Journals (Elsevier)
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  • 2
    Language: English
    In: Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 01 March 2014, Vol.185, pp.208-220
    Description: The management of soils as well as the impact of land use or climate changes are often evaluated in view of the storage of total soil organic carbon (SOC). However, as soil organic matter (SOM) is composed of different compounds with different degrees of stability and turnover times, there is the need for a soil- and land use-specific quantification of functional SOC pools. In this study, the amount of active, intermediate and passive SOC pools was determined for major soil types and land uses of Bavaria in southeast Germany. At 99 locations, soil horizons down to the parent material were fractionated according to the method of . The results showed that in cropland and grassland soils around 90% of total SOC stocks can be assigned to the intermediate and passive SOC pool. High SOC stocks in grassland soils are partly related to a higher degree of soil aggregation compared to cropland soils. The contribution of intermediate SOC in cropland soils was similar to that in grassland soils due to an increased proportion of SOM associated with silt and clay particles. The cultivation-induced loss of SOC due to aggregate disruption is at least partly compensated by increased formation of organo-mineral associations as a result of tillage that continuously promotes the contact of crop residues with reactive mineral surfaces. Contrary, forest soils were characterized by distinctly lower proportions of intermediate and passive SOC and a high amount of active SOC in form of litter and particulate organic matter which accounted for almost 40% of total SOC stocks. As both the amount of intermediate and passive SOC were lower in forest soils, we conclude that cropland and grassland soils may be more advantageous for long-term SOC storage in Bavaria. The high amount of labile SOC in forest topsoils poses the risk of considerable SOC losses caused by wildfire, mechanical disturbances or increasing temperatures.
    Keywords: Soil Organic Matter ; Soil Fractions ; Carbon Sequestration ; Climate Change ; Agriculture ; Environmental Sciences
    ISSN: 0167-8809
    E-ISSN: 1873-2305
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  • 3
    Language: English
    In: Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 01 August 2019, Vol.280, pp.118-128
    Description: Grassland management and climate change may have profound effects on soil organic carbon (SOC) storage in temperate grasslands, but to date only limited information on the long-term SOC development derived from grassland monitoring sites is available. In 1986, the established 20 long-term grassland soil monitoring sites in the state of Bavaria, Germany. We analyzed SOC changes and their main controlling factors in these monitoring sites between 1989 and 2016 in four intervals using the machine learning algorithm conditional random forest. The results showed that changes of SOC stocks in grassland monitoring sites were affected by the multifactorial and interactive nature of changing climate conditions, pedogenic-topographic factors and management practices. Seasonal climate variables explained the highest variability of SOC stock changes in long-term grassland sites, followed by organic fertilizer application. Increasing autumn precipitation led to decreased SOC stocks, whereas increasing spring and summer precipitation led to increased SOC stocks on sites at high elevations with low slopes. Furthermore, we observed that the organic fertilizer application resulted in an increase and/or preservation of SOC stocks, whereas conventional farming with a low degree of organic fertilization resulted in SOC stock decreases. Regarding the acceleration of climate change and the complex interactions between site conditions, changing climate and management, there is an urgent need to collect improved management data in future long-term studies.
    Keywords: Random Forest ; Climate Change ; Seasonal Carbon Change ; Grassland Management ; Long-Term Experiments ; Agriculture ; Environmental Sciences
    ISSN: 0167-8809
    E-ISSN: 1873-2305
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  • 4
    Language: English
    In: Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 15 March 2019, Vol.274, pp.62-75
    Description: The heterogeneity of soil organic matter (SOM) and the small changes in soil organic carbon (SOC) compared to large total SOC stocks hinder a robust estimation of SOC turnover, in particular for more stable SOC. We developed a simple fractionation protocol for agricultural topsoils and tested it extensively on a range of soils in southern Belgium, including farmed soils, soils from long-term field trials, and paired sites after recent conversion to conservation farming. Our simple fractionation involves shaking the soil, wet sieving over 20 μm and analysing the SOC concentration in the soil as well as in the fine fraction (〈20 μm). Eight biological indicators measured in an earlier study across the same monitoring network for the 0–10 cm topsoil were analysed in a conditional inference forest model in order to investigate the factors influencing the SOC fractions. Soil microbial biomass N explained the largest proportion of variation in both fractions. The fine fraction was also associated with factors explaining the regional trend in SOC distribution such as farmyard manure input, precipitation, land use and flow length. The variation in SOC content between treatments both in long-term trials and in farmers’ fields converted to conservation management was mainly attributed to changes within the coarse fraction. Thus, this fraction proves to be sensitive to management changes, although care should be taken to sample deep enough to represent the former plough layer inherited from the conventional tillage practice. Furthermore, the ratio between the coarse and the fine fraction showed a linear relationship (r² = 0.66) with the relative changes in SOC concentration over the last ten years. These fractions derived from a simple analytical approach are thus useful as an indicator for changes in SOC concentration. In analogy to biological indicators such as the soil microbial biomass C, the relationship between the fractions and relative changes in SOC concentration are likely to depend on climate conditions. Our methodology provides an indicator for use in routine analysis of agricultural topsoils, which is capable of predicting the effects of management practices on SOC concentrations in the short to mid-term (5–10 years).
    Keywords: Soil Organic Matter Fractionation ; Indicator ; Soil Organic Carbon Dynamics ; Long-Term Trials ; Organic Matter Management ; Agriculture ; Environmental Sciences
    ISSN: 0167-8809
    E-ISSN: 1873-2305
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