Articles | Volume 8, issue 1
SOIL, 8, 59–83, 2022
SOIL, 8, 59–83, 2022
Original research article
20 Jan 2022
Original research article | 20 Jan 2022

Synergy between compost and cover crops in a Mediterranean row crop system leads to increased subsoil carbon storage

Daniel Rath et al.

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Cited articles

Angst, G., Messinger, J., Greiner, M., Häusler, W., Hertel, D., Kirfel, K., Kögel-Knabner, I., Leuschner, C., Rethemeyer, J., and Mueller, C. W.: Soil organic carbon stocks in topsoil and subsoil controlled by parent material, carbon input in the rhizosphere, and microbial-derived compounds, Soil Biol. Biochem., 122, 19–30,, 2018. 
Aquino, A. J. A., Tunega, D., Schaumann, G. E., Haberhauer, G., Gerzabek, M. H., and Lischka, H.: The functionality of cation bridges for binding polar groups in soil aggregates, Int. J. Quantum Chem., 111, 1531–1542,, 2011. 
Baes, A. U. and Bloom, P. R.: Diffuse reflectance Fourier transform infrared (DRIFT) of humic and fulvic acids, Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J., 53, 695–700,, 1989. 
Banfield, C. C., Dippold, M. A., Pausch, J., Hoang, D. T. T., and Kuzyakov, Y.: Biopore history determines the microbial community composition in subsoil hotspots, Biol. Fert. Soils, 53, 573–588,, 2017. 
Bernal, B., McKinley, D. C., Hungate, B. A., White, P. M., Mozdzer, T. J., and Megonigal, J. P.: Limits to soil carbon stability; Deep, ancient soil carbon decomposition stimulated by new labile organic inputs, Soil Biol. Biochem., 98, 85–94,, 2016. 
Short summary
Storing C in subsoils can help mitigate climate change, but this requires a better understanding of subsoil C dynamics. We investigated changes in subsoil C storage under a combination of compost, cover crops (WCC), and mineral fertilizer and found that systems with compost + WCC had ~19 Mg/ha more C after 25 years. This increase was attributed to increased transport of soluble C and nutrients via WCC root pores and demonstrates the potential for subsoil C storage in tilled agricultural systems.