Articles | Volume 5, issue 1
Original research article
19 Mar 2019
Original research article | 19 Mar 2019
On-farm study reveals positive relationship between gas transport capacity and organic carbon content in arable soil
Tino Colombi et al.
No articles found.
Tegawende Léa Jeanne Ilboudo, Lucien NGuessan Diby, Delwendé Innocent Kiba, Tor Gunnar Vågen, Leigh Ann Winowiecki, Hassan Bismarck Nacro, Johan Six, and Emmanuel Frossard
Our results showed that at landscape level SOC stock variability was mainly explained by clay content. We found significant linear positive relationships between VC and SOC stocks for the land uses annual croplands, perennial croplands, grasslands and bushlands without soil depth restrictions until 110 cm. We concluded that in the forest-savanna transition zone, soil properties and topography determine land use, which in turn affects the stocks of SOC and TN and to some extent the VC stocks.
Qing Sun, Valentin H. Klaus, Raphaël Wittwer, Yujie Liu, Marcel G. A. van der Heijden, Anna K. Gilgen, and Nina Buchmann
Biogeosciences, 19, 1853–1869,Short summary
Drought is one of the biggest challenges for future food production globally. During a simulated drought, pea and barley mainly relied on water from shallow soil depths, independent of different cropping systems.
Kristof Van Oost and Jo Six
Revised manuscript has not been submittedShort summary
The direction and magnitude of the net erosion-induced land-atmosphere C exchange have been the topic of a big scientific debate for more than a decade now. Many have assumed that erosion leads to a loss of soil carbon to the atmosphere, whereas others have shown that erosion ultimately leads to a carbon sink. Here, we show that the soil carbon erosion source-sink paradox is reconciled when the broad range of temporal and spatial scales at which the underlying processes operate are considered.
Philipp Baumann, Juhwan Lee, Emmanuel Frossard, Laurie Paule Schönholzer, Lucien Diby, Valérie Kouamé Hgaza, Delwende Innocent Kiba, Andrew Sila, Keith Sheperd, and Johan Six
SOIL, 7, 717–731,Short summary
This work delivers openly accessible and validated calibrations for diagnosing 26 soil properties based on mid-infrared spectroscopy. These were developed for four regions in Burkina Faso and Côte d'Ivoire, including 80 fields of smallholder farmers. The models can help to site-specifically and cost-efficiently monitor soil quality and fertility constraints to ameliorate soils and yields of yam or other staple crops in the four regions between the humid forest and the northern Guinean savanna.
Laura Summerauer, Philipp Baumann, Leonardo Ramirez-Lopez, Matti Barthel, Marijn Bauters, Benjamin Bukombe, Mario Reichenbach, Pascal Boeckx, Elizabeth Kearsley, Kristof Van Oost, Bernard Vanlauwe, Dieudonné Chiragaga, Aimé Bisimwa Heri-Kazi, Pieter Moonen, Andrew Sila, Keith Shepherd, Basile Bazirake Mujinya, Eric Van Ranst, Geert Baert, Sebastian Doetterl, and Johan Six
SOIL, 7, 693–715,Short summary
We present a soil mid-infrared library with over 1800 samples from central Africa in order to facilitate soil analyses of this highly understudied yet critical area. Together with an existing continental library, we demonstrate a regional analysis and geographical extrapolation to predict total carbon and nitrogen. Our results show accurate predictions and highlight the value that the data contribute to existing libraries. Our library is openly available for public use and for expansion.
Sebastian Doetterl, Rodrigue K. Asifiwe, Geert Baert, Fernando Bamba, Marijn Bauters, Pascal Boeckx, Benjamin Bukombe, Georg Cadisch, Matthew Cooper, Landry N. Cizungu, Alison Hoyt, Clovis Kabaseke, Karsten Kalbitz, Laurent Kidinda, Annina Maier, Moritz Mainka, Julia Mayrock, Daniel Muhindo, Basile B. Mujinya, Serge M. Mukotanyi, Leon Nabahungu, Mario Reichenbach, Boris Rewald, Johan Six, Anna Stegmann, Laura Summerauer, Robin Unseld, Bernard Vanlauwe, Kristof Van Oost, Kris Verheyen, Cordula Vogel, Florian Wilken, and Peter Fiener
Earth Syst. Sci. Data, 13, 4133–4153,Short summary
The African Tropics are hotspots of modern-day land use change and are of great relevance for the global carbon cycle. Here, we present data collected as part of the DFG-funded project TropSOC along topographic, land use, and geochemical gradients in the eastern Congo Basin and the Albertine Rift. Our database contains spatial and temporal data on soil, vegetation, environmental properties, and land management collected from 136 pristine tropical forest and cropland plots between 2017 and 2020.
Philipp Baumann, Anatol Helfenstein, Andreas Gubler, Armin Keller, Reto Giulio Meuli, Daniel Wächter, Juhwan Lee, Raphael Viscarra Rossel, and Johan Six
SOIL, 7, 525–546,Short summary
We developed the Swiss mid-infrared spectral library and a statistical model collection across 4374 soil samples with reference measurements of 16 properties. Our library incorporates soil from 1094 grid locations and 71 long-term monitoring sites. This work confirms once again that nationwide spectral libraries with diverse soils can reliably feed information to a fast chemical diagnosis. Our data-driven reduction of the library has the potential to accurately monitor carbon at the plot scale.
Mario Reichenbach, Peter Fiener, Gina Garland, Marco Griepentrog, Johan Six, and Sebastian Doetterl
SOIL, 7, 453–475,Short summary
In deeply weathered tropical rainforest soils of Africa, we found that patterns of soil organic carbon stocks differ between soils developed from geochemically contrasting parent material due to differences in the abundance of organo-mineral complexes, the presence/absence of chemical stabilization mechanisms of carbon with minerals and the presence of fossil organic carbon from sedimentary rocks. Physical stabilization mechanisms by aggregation provide additional protection of soil carbon.
Sophie F. von Fromm, Alison M. Hoyt, Markus Lange, Gifty E. Acquah, Ermias Aynekulu, Asmeret Asefaw Berhe, Stephan M. Haefele, Steve P. McGrath, Keith D. Shepherd, Andrew M. Sila, Johan Six, Erick K. Towett, Susan E. Trumbore, Tor-G. Vågen, Elvis Weullow, Leigh A. Winowiecki, and Sebastian Doetterl
SOIL, 7, 305–332,Short summary
We investigated various soil and climate properties that influence soil organic carbon (SOC) concentrations in sub-Saharan Africa. Our findings indicate that climate and geochemistry are equally important for explaining SOC variations. The key SOC-controlling factors are broadly similar to those for temperate regions, despite differences in soil development history between the two regions.
Anatol Helfenstein, Philipp Baumann, Raphael Viscarra Rossel, Andreas Gubler, Stefan Oechslin, and Johan Six
SOIL, 7, 193–215,Short summary
In this study, we show that a soil spectral library (SSL) can be used to predict soil carbon at new and very different locations. The importance of this finding is that it requires less time-consuming lab work than calibrating a new model for every local application, while still remaining similar to or more accurate than local models. Furthermore, we show that this method even works for predicting (drained) peat soils, using a SSL with mostly mineral soils containing much less soil carbon.
Simon Baumgartner, Marijn Bauters, Matti Barthel, Travis W. Drake, Landry C. Ntaboba, Basile M. Bazirake, Johan Six, Pascal Boeckx, and Kristof Van Oost
SOIL, 7, 83–94,Short summary
We compared stable isotope signatures of soil profiles in different forest ecosystems within the Congo Basin to assess ecosystem-level differences in N cycling, and we examined the local effect of topography on the isotopic signature of soil N. Soil δ15N profiles indicated that the N cycling in in the montane forest is more closed, whereas the lowland forest and Miombo woodland experienced a more open N cycle. Topography only alters soil δ15N values in forests with high erosional forces.
Simon Baumgartner, Matti Barthel, Travis William Drake, Marijn Bauters, Isaac Ahanamungu Makelele, John Kalume Mugula, Laura Summerauer, Nora Gallarotti, Landry Cizungu Ntaboba, Kristof Van Oost, Pascal Boeckx, Sebastian Doetterl, Roland Anton Werner, and Johan Six
Biogeosciences, 17, 6207–6218,Short summary
Soil respiration is an important carbon flux and key process determining the net ecosystem production of terrestrial ecosystems. The Congo Basin lacks studies quantifying carbon fluxes. We measured soil CO2 fluxes from different forest types in the Congo Basin and were able to show that, even though soil CO2 fluxes are similarly high in lowland and montane forests, the drivers were different: soil moisture in montane forests and C availability in the lowland forests.
Katharina Hildegard Elisabeth Meurer, Claire Chenu, Elsa Coucheney, Anke Marianne Herrmann, Thomas Keller, Thomas Kätterer, David Nimblad Svensson, and Nicholas Jarvis
Biogeosciences, 17, 5025–5042,Short summary
We present a simple model that describes, for the first time, the dynamic two-way interactions between soil organic matter and soil physical properties (porosity, pore size distribution, bulk density and layer thickness). The model was able to accurately reproduce the changes in soil organic carbon, soil bulk density and surface elevation observed during 63 years in a field trial, as well as soil water retention curves measured at the end of the experimental period.
Long Ho, Ruben Jerves-Cobo, Matti Barthel, Johan Six, Samuel Bode, Pascal Boeckx, and Peter Goethals
Revised manuscript not acceptedShort summary
Rivers are being polluted by human activities, especially in urban areas. We studied the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from an urban river system. The results showed a clear trend between water quality and GHG emissions in which the more polluted the sites were, the higher were their emissions. When river water quality worsened, its contribution to global warming can go up by 10 times. Urban rivers emitted 4-times more than of the amount of GHGs compared to rivers in natural sites.
Marijn Van de Broek, Shiva Ghiasi, Charlotte Decock, Andreas Hund, Samuel Abiven, Cordula Friedli, Roland A. Werner, and Johan Six
Biogeosciences, 17, 2971–2986,Short summary
Four wheat cultivars were labeled with 13CO2 to quantify the effect of rooting depth and root biomass on the belowground transfer of organic carbon. We found no clear relation between the time since cultivar development and the amount of carbon inputs to the soil. Therefore, the hypothesis that wheat cultivars with a larger root biomass and deeper roots promote carbon stabilization was rejected. The amount of root biomass that will be stabilized in the soil on the long term is, however, unknown.
Stephen J. Harris, Jesper Liisberg, Longlong Xia, Jing Wei, Kerstin Zeyer, Longfei Yu, Matti Barthel, Benjamin Wolf, Bryce F. J. Kelly, Dioni I. Cendón, Thomas Blunier, Johan Six, and Joachim Mohn
Atmos. Meas. Tech., 13, 2797–2831,Short summary
The latest commercial laser spectrometers have the potential to revolutionize N2O isotope analysis. However, to do so, they must be able to produce trustworthy data. Here, we test the performance of widely used laser spectrometers for ambient air applications and identify instrument-specific dependencies on gas matrix and trace gas concentrations. We then provide a calibration workflow to facilitate the operation of these instruments in order to generate reproducible and accurate data.
Karl Voglmeier, Johan Six, Markus Jocher, and Christof Ammann
Biogeosciences, 16, 1685–1703,
Elizabeth Verhoeven, Matti Barthel, Longfei Yu, Luisella Celi, Daniel Said-Pullicino, Steven Sleutel, Dominika Lewicka-Szczebak, Johan Six, and Charlotte Decock
Biogeosciences, 16, 383–408,Short summary
This study utilized state-of-the-art measurements of nitrogen isotopes to evaluate nitrogen cycling and to assess the biological sources of the potent greenhouse gas, N2O, in response to water-saving practices in rice systems. Water-saving practices did emit more N2O, and high N2O production had a lower 15N isotope signature. Modeling and visual interpretation indicate that these emissions mostly came from denitrification or nitrifier denitrification, controlled upstream by nitrification rates.
R. Hüppi, R. Felber, A. Neftel, J. Six, and J. Leifeld
SOIL, 1, 707–717,Short summary
Biochar is considered an opportunity to tackle major environmental issues in agriculture. Adding pyrolised organic residues to soil may sequester carbon, increase yields and reduce nitrous oxide emissions from soil. It is unknown, whether the latter is induced by changes in soil pH. We show that biochar application substantially reduces nitrous oxide emissions from a temperate maize cropping system. However, the reduction was only achieved with biochar but not with liming.
C. Decock, J. Lee, M. Necpalova, E. I. P. Pereira, D. M. Tendall, and J. Six
SOIL, 1, 687–694,Short summary
Further progress in understanding and mitigating N2O emissions from soil lies within transdisciplinary research that reaches across spatial scales and takes an ambitious look into the future.
M. S. Torn, A. Chabbi, P. Crill, P. J. Hanson, I. A. Janssens, Y. Luo, C. H. Pries, C. Rumpel, M. W. I. Schmidt, J. Six, M. Schrumpf, and B. Zhu
SOIL, 1, 575–582,
B. Wolf, L. Merbold, C. Decock, B. Tuzson, E. Harris, J. Six, L. Emmenegger, and J. Mohn
Biogeosciences, 12, 2517–2531,
S. Doetterl, J.-T. Cornelis, J. Six, S. Bodé, S. Opfergelt, P. Boeckx, and K. Van Oost
Biogeosciences, 12, 1357–1371,Short summary
We link the mineralogy of soils affected by erosion and deposition to the distribution of soil carbon fractions, their turnover and microbial activity. We show that the weathering status of soils and their history are controlling the stabilization of carbon with minerals. After burial, aggregated C is preserved more efficiently while non-aggregated C can be released and younger C re-sequestered more easily. Weathering changes the effectiveness of stabilization mechanism limiting this C sink.
E. C. Brevik, A. Cerdà, J. Mataix-Solera, L. Pereg, J. N. Quinton, J. Six, and K. Van Oost
SOIL, 1, 117–129,Short summary
This paper provides a brief accounting of some of the many ways that the study of soils can be interdisciplinary, therefore giving examples of the types of papers we hope to see submitted to SOIL.
Related subject area
Soil systemsEvolutionary pathways in soil-landscape evolution modelsEffects of environmental factors on the influence of tillage conversion on saturated soil hydraulic conductivity obtained with different methodologies: a global meta-analysisAssessing soil and land health across two landscapes in eastern Rwanda to inform restoration activitiesNonlinear turnover rates of soil carbon following cultivation of native grasslands and subsequent afforestation of croplandsThe effect of soil properties on zinc lability and solubility in soils of Ethiopia – an isotopic dilution studyComparison of regolith physical and chemical characteristics with geophysical data along a climate and ecological gradient, Chilean Coastal Cordillera (26 to 38° S)Obtaining more benefits from crop residues as soil amendments by application as chemically heterogeneous mixturesModeling soil and landscape evolution – the effect of rainfall and land-use change on soil and landscape patternsSoil environment grouping system based on spectral, climate, and terrain data: a quantitative branch of soil seriesSpatially resolved soil solution chemistry in a central European atmospherically polluted high-elevation catchmentSoil bacterial community and functional shifts in response to altered snowpack in moist acidic tundra of northern AlaskaPotential for agricultural production on disturbed soils mined for apatite using legumes and beneficial microbeZero net livelihood degradation – the quest for a multidimensional protocol to combat desertificationSoil microbial communities following bush removal in a Namibian savannaEffects of land use changes on the dynamics of selected soil properties in northeast Wellega, EthiopiaSoil biochemical properties in brown and gray mine soils with and without hydroseedingQuantifying soil and critical zone variability in a forested catchment through digital soil mapping
W. Marijn van der Meij
SOIL, 8, 381–389,Short summary
The development of soils and landscapes can be complex due to changes in climate and land use. Computer models are required to simulate this complex development. This research presents a new method to analyze and visualize the results of these models. This is done with the use of evolutionary pathways (EPs), which describe how soil properties change in space and through time. I illustrate the EPs with examples from the field and give recommendations for further use of EPs in soil model studies.
Kaihua Liao, Juan Feng, Xiaoming Lai, and Qing Zhu
SOIL, 8, 309–317,Short summary
The influence of the conversion from conventional tillage (CT) to conservation tillage (CS; including no tillage, NT, and reduced tillage, RT) on the saturated hydraulic conductivity (Ksat) of soils is not well understood and still debated. This study has demonstrated that quantifying the effects of tillage conversion on soil Ksat needed to consider experimental conditions, especially the measurement technique and conversion period.
Leigh Ann Winowiecki, Aida Bargués-Tobella, Athanase Mukuralinda, Providence Mujawamariya, Elisée Bahati Ntawuhiganayo, Alex Billy Mugayi, Susan Chomba, and Tor-Gunnar Vågen
SOIL, 7, 767–783,Short summary
Achieving global restoration targets requires scaling of context-specific restoration options on the ground. We implemented the Land Degradation Surveillance Framework in Rwanda to assess indicators of soil and land health, including soil organic carbon (SOC), erosion prevalence, infiltration capacity, and tree biodiversity. Maps of soil erosion and SOC were produced at 30 m resolution with high accuracy. These data provide a rigorous biophysical baseline for tracking changes over time.
Guillermo Hernandez-Ramirez, Thomas J. Sauer, Yury G. Chendev, and Alexander N. Gennadiev
SOIL, 7, 415–431,Short summary
We evaluated how sequestration of soil carbon changes over the long term after converting native grasslands into croplands and also from annual cropping into trees. Soil carbon was reduced by cropping but increased with tree planting. This decrease in carbon storage with annual cropping happened over centuries, while trees increase soil carbon over just a few decades. Growing trees in long-term croplands emerged as a climate-change-mitigating action, effective even within a person’s lifetime.
Abdul-Wahab Mossa, Dawd Gashu, Martin R. Broadley, Sarah J. Dunham, Steve P. McGrath, Elizabeth H. Bailey, and Scott D. Young
SOIL, 7, 255–268,Short summary
Zinc deficiency is a widespread nutritional problem in human populations, especially in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Crop Zn depends in part on soil Zn. The Zn status of soils from the Amahara region, Ethiopia, was quantified by measuring pseudo-total, available, soluble and isotopically exchangeable Zn, and soil geochemical properties were assessed. Widespread phyto-available Zn deficiency was observed. The results could be used to improve agronomic interventions to tackle Zn deficiency in SSA.
Mirjam Schaller, Igor Dal Bo, Todd A. Ehlers, Anja Klotzsche, Reinhard Drews, Juan Pablo Fuentes Espoz, and Jan van der Kruk
SOIL, 6, 629–647,Short summary
In this study geophysical observations from ground-penetrating radar with pedolith physical and geochemical properties from pedons excavated in four study areas of the climate and ecological gradient in the Chilean Coastal Cordillera are combined. Findings suggest that profiles with ground-penetrating radar along hillslopes can be used to infer lateral thickness variations in pedolith horizons and to some degree physical and chemical variations with depth.
Marijke Struijk, Andrew P. Whitmore, Simon R. Mortimer, and Tom Sizmur
SOIL, 6, 467–481,Short summary
Crop residues are widely available on-farm resources containing carbon and nutrients, but, as soil amendments, their decomposition does not always benefit the soil. We applied mixtures of crop residues that are chemically different from each other and found significantly increased soil organic matter and available nitrogen levels. Applying crop residue mixtures has practical implications involving the removal, mixing and reapplication rather than simply returning crop residues to soils in situ.
W. Marijn van der Meij, Arnaud J. A. M. Temme, Jakob Wallinga, and Michael Sommer
SOIL, 6, 337–358,Short summary
We developed a model to simulate long-term development of soils and landscapes under varying rainfall and land-use conditions to quantify the temporal variation of soil patterns. In natural landscapes, rainfall amount was the dominant factor influencing soil variation, while for agricultural landscapes, landscape position became the dominant factor due to tillage erosion. Our model shows potential for simulating past and future developments of soils in various landscapes and climates.
Andre Carnieletto Dotto, Jose A. M. Demattê, Raphael A. Viscarra Rossel, and Rodnei Rizzo
SOIL, 6, 163–177,Short summary
The objective of this study was to develop a soil grouping system based on spectral, climate, and terrain variables with the aim of developing a quantitative way to classify soils. To derive the new system, we applied the above-mentioned variables using cluster analysis and defined eight groups or "soil environment groupings" (SEGs). The SEG system facilitated the identification of groups with similar characteristics using not only soil but also environmental variables for their distinction.
Daniel A. Petrash, Frantisek Buzek, Martin Novak, Bohuslava Cejkova, Pavel Kram, Tomas Chuman, Jan Curik, Frantisek Veselovsky, Marketa Stepanova, Oldrich Myska, Pavla Holeckova, and Leona Bohdalkova
SOIL, 5, 205–221,Short summary
Some 30 years after peak pollution-related soil acidification occurred in central Europe, the forest ecosystem of a small V-shaped mountain valley, UDL, was still out of chemical balance relative to the concurrent loads of anions and cations in precipitation. The spatial variability in soil solution chemistry provided evidence pointing to substrate variability, C and P bioavailability, and landscape as major controls on base metal leaching toward the subsoil level in N-saturated catchments.
Michael P. Ricketts, Rachel S. Poretsky, Jeffrey M. Welker, and Miquel A. Gonzalez-Meler
SOIL, 2, 459–474,Short summary
Soil microbial communities play a key role in the cycling of carbon (C) in Arctic tundra ecosystems through decomposition of organic matter (OM). Climate change predictions include increased temperature and snow accumulation, resulting in altered plant communities and soil conditions. To determine how soil bacteria may respond, we sequenced soil DNA from a long-term snow depth treatment gradient in Alaska. Results indicate that bacteria produce less OM-degrading enzymes under deeper snowpack.
Rebecca Swift, Liza Parkinson, Thomas Edwards, Regina Carr, Jen McComb, Graham W. O'Hara, Giles E. St. John Hardy, Lambert Bräu, and John Howieson
Marcos H. Easdale
SOIL, 2, 129–134,Short summary
Zero Net Land Degradation (ZNLD) was proposed as a new global protocol to combat desertification. This framework aims at reducing the rate of global land degradation and increasing the rate of restoration of already degraded land. However, there is a narrow focus on land and soil, while an essential human dimension to the sustainability of drylands is lacking and should be more adequately tackled. I propose a complementary perspective based on the sustainable livelihood approach.
Jeffrey S. Buyer, Anne Schmidt-Küntzel, Matti Nghikembua, Jude E. Maul, and Laurie Marker
SOIL, 2, 101–110,Short summary
Savannas represent most of the world’s livestock grazing land and are suffering worldwide from bush encroachment and desertification. We studied soil under bush and grass in a bush-encroached savanna in Namibia. With bush removal, there were significant changes in soil chemistry and microbial community structure, but these changes gradually diminished with time. Our results indicate that the ecosystem can substantially recover over a time period of approximately 10 years following bush removal.
Alemayehu Adugna and Assefa Abegaz
SOIL, 2, 63–70,Short summary
The purpose of our study was to explore the effects of land use changes on the dynamics of soil properties and their implications for land degradation. The result indicates that cultivated land has a lower organic matter, total nitrogen, cation exchange capacity, pH, and exchangeable Ca2+ and Mg2+ contents than forestland and grazing land.
C. Thomas, A. Sexstone, and J. Skousen
SOIL, 1, 621–629,Short summary
Surface coal mining disrupts large areas of land and eliminates valuable hardwood forests. Restoring the land to a sustainable forest ecosystem with suitable soils is the goal of reclamation. Soil microbial activity is an indicator of restoration success. We found hydroseeding with herbaceous forage species and fertilization doubled tree growth and microbial biomass carbon (an indicator of microbial activity) compared to non-hydroseed areas. Hydroseeding is an important component of reclamation.
M. Holleran, M. Levi, and C. Rasmussen
SOIL, 1, 47–64,
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The role of soil aeration in carbon sequestration in arable soils has only been explored little, especially at the farm level. The current study, which was conducted on 30 fields that belong to individual farms, reveals a positive relationship between soil gas transport capability and soil organic carbon content. We therefore conclude that soil aeration needs to be accounted for when developing strategies for carbon sequestration in arable soil.
The role of soil aeration in carbon sequestration in arable soils has only been explored little,...