Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/soil-2021-17
https://doi.org/10.5194/soil-2021-17

  08 Mar 2021

08 Mar 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal SOIL.

Significant soil degradation is associated with intensive vegetable cropping in subtropical area: A case study in southwest China

Ming Lu1, David S. Powlson2,3, Yi Liang1, Zhi Yao1, Dave R. Chadwick2,4, Shengbi Long5, Dunyi Liu1, and Xinping Chen1,2 Ming Lu et al.
  • 1College of Resources and Environment, Chongqing Key Laboratory of Efficient Utilization of Soil and Fertilizer Resources, Southwest University, Chongqing, 400715, China
  • 2Interdisciplinary Research Center for Agriculture Green Development in the Yangtze River Basin, Southwest University, Chongqing, 400715, China
  • 3Department of Sustainable Agriculture Systems, Rothamsted Research, Harpenden, Herts, AL5 2JQ, UK
  • 4School of Environment, Natural Resources and Geography, Bangor University, Gwynedd, LL57 2UW, UK
  • 5Jinping Station of Agricultural Technology Promotion, Guizhou, 556700, China

Abstract. Within the context of sustainable development, soil degradation driven by land-use change is considered a serious global problem but conversion from growing cereals to vegetables is a change that has received little attention, especially in subtropical regions. Therefore, we compared the nutrient status and soil quality parameters (soil organic carbon [SOC], total nitrogen [TN], C / N ratio, pH, phosphorus [P], potassium [K], calcium [Ca], and magnesium [Mg]) between vegetable fields (VF) and land still used for paddy rice-oilseed rape rotation (PRF) that are typical of southwest China. In the VF, fertilizer application were often several times higher than the crop needs or recommended by the local extension service, thus, the crop use efficiency of N, P, K, Ca, Mg were only 26 %, 8 %, 56 %, 23 % and 28 %, respectively; SOC, C stock, TN, N stock decreased significantly caused by low organic inputs from crop residues and high tillage frequency, and soil C/N ratio decreased slightly; available P (AP) in topsoil increased by 1.92 mg kg−1 for every 100 kg ha−1 of surplus P, and the critical levels of AP and CaCl2-soluble P for P leaching were 104 and 0.80 mg P kg−1. Besides, there was a clear trend of soil acidification in the VF. However, increasing concentrations of soil Ca and Mg significantly alleviated topsoil acidification, with the effect increasing over time. Given our findings, we discuss the potential benefits of conservation agricultural practices, integrated soil-crop system management strategies and agricultural technology services for recovering the degraded soil and improving the vegetable productivity in the VF.

Ming Lu et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on soil-2021-17', Paul Hallett, 30 Mar 2021
    • EC1: 'Reply on RC1', Fuensanta García-Orenes, 13 Apr 2021
  • RC2: 'Comment on soil-2021-17', Lukas Kohl, 30 Mar 2021
  • RC3: 'Comment on soil-2021-17', Anonymous Referee #3, 13 Apr 2021
    • EC3: 'Reply on RC3', Fuensanta García-Orenes, 13 Apr 2021
  • EC2: 'Comment on soil-2021-17', Fuensanta García-Orenes, 13 Apr 2021

Ming Lu et al.

Ming Lu et al.

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Short summary
Land-use changes are an important anthropogenic perturbation that can cause soil degradation, but the impacts of land conversion from growing cereals to vegetables have received little attention. Using a combination of soil analyses from paired sites and data from farmers surveys, we found significant soil degradation in intensive vegetable cropping which converted by paddy rice-oilseed rape rotation in southwest China.This study may alert others to the potential land degradation in subtropics.