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Loss of soil organic carbon in Swiss long-term agricultural experiments over a wide range of management practices

Loss of soil organic carbon in Swiss long-term agricultural experiments over a wide range of management practices

Keel, Sonja G. ORCID: 0000-0002-2645-273X, Anken, Thomas, Büchi, Lucie ORCID: 0000-0002-1935-6176, Chervet, Andreas, Fliessbach, Andreas ORCID: 0000-0002-9130-7977, Flisch, René, Huguenin-Elie, Olivier, Mäder, Paul, Mayer, Jochen, Sinaj, Sokrat ORCID: 0000-0003-0848-2270, Sturny, Wolfgang, Wüst-Galley, Chloé, Zihlmann, Urs and Leifeld, Jens ORCID: 0000-0002-7245-9852 (2019) Loss of soil organic carbon in Swiss long-term agricultural experiments over a wide range of management practices. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 286:106654. ISSN 0167-8809 (doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.agee.2019.106654)

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Abstract

Soil carbon sequestration (SCS) is one of the cheapest and technically least demanding carbon dioxide (CO2) removal (CDR) or negative CO2 emission technologies. For a realistic assessment of SCS, it is critical to evaluate how much carbon (C) can be stored in soil organic matter under actual agricultural practices. This includes typical crop rotations and fertilization strategies, depends on resources that are available (e.g. farmyard manure (FYM)) and are affordable for farmers. Furthermore, it is important to assess SCS based on given climatic and soil conditions. Here, we evaluate changes in soil C storage for Switzerland using data from eleven long-term field experiments on cropland and permanent grassland that include common local practices. At all sites, changes in soil organic carbon (SOC) stocks were measured in topsoil (∼0-0.2 m) in response to a total of 80 different treatments including different types of mineral or organic fertilization (e.g. FYM, slurry, peat, compost) or soil management (tillage vs. no-till). The treatments were applied to different, diverse crop rotations or grass mixtures that are representative for Switzerland. We found that topsoils lost C at an average rate of 0.29 Mg C ha−1 yr−1, although many of the investigated treatments were expected to lead to SOC increases. Based on a linear mixed effects model we showed that SOC change rates (ΔSOC) were driven by C inputs to soil (harvest residues and organic fertilizer), soil cover and initial SOC stocks. The type of land use or soil tillage had no significant effect. Our analysis suggests that current efforts to manage soils sustainably need to be intensified and complemented with further techniques if Switzerland wants to achieve the goal of the 4 per 1000 initiative.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: soil carbon sequestration, organic amendments, crop rotation, cover crops, permanent grassland, fertilization, 4p1000
Subjects: S Agriculture > S Agriculture (General)
Faculty / Department / Research Group: Faculty of Engineering & Science
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute > Agriculture, Health & Environment Department
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute > Ecosystem Services Research Group
Last Modified: 13 Sep 2019 12:45
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
Selected for GREAT 2019: None
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/25137

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