Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/soil-2022-28
https://doi.org/10.5194/soil-2022-28
 
22 Mar 2022
22 Mar 2022
Status: a revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal SOIL.

Impact of agricultural management on soil aggregates and associated organic carbon fractions: Analysis of long-term experiments in Europe

Ioanna S. Panagea1, Antonios Apostolakis2, Antonio Berti3, Jenny Bussell4, Pavel Čermak5, Jan Diels1, Annemie Elsen6, Helena Kusá5, Ilaria Piccoli3, Jean Poesen1,7, Chris Stoate4, Mia Tits6, Zoltan Toth8, and Guido Wyseure1 Ioanna S. Panagea et al.
  • 1Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, KU Leuven, Leuven, 3001, Belgium
  • 2Max-Planck-Institute for Biogeochemistry; Jena, 07745, Germany
  • 3DAFNAE Department, University of Padova, Legnaro PD, 35020, Italy
  • 4Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust, Allerton Project, Loddington, Leicester, LE7 9XE, UK
  • 5Crop Research Institute, Prague 6-Ruzyne, 161 06, Czech Republic
  • 6Soil Service of Belgium (BDB), Heverlee, 3001, Belgium
  • 7Institute of Earth and Environmental Sciences, UMCS, Lublin, 20-718, Poland
  • 8Institute of Agronomy, Georgikon Campus, Keszthely, Hungarian University of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Gödöllő, 2100, Hungary

Abstract. Inversion tillage is a commonly applied soil cultivation practice in Europe, which though has been blamed for deteriorating topsoil stability and organic carbon (OC) content. In this study, the potential to reverse these negative effects in the topsoil by alternative agricultural management practices are evaluated in five long-term experiments (running from 8 to 54 years the moment of sampling) in Europe. Topsoil samples (0–15 cm) were collected and analysed to evaluate the effects of conservation tillage (reduced and no-tillage) or increased organic inputs of different origin (farmyard manure, compost, crop residues) combined with inversion tillage on topsoil stability, soil aggregates and within these, OC distribution. Effects from the treatments on the two main components of organic matter i.e., particulate (POM) and mineral associated (MAOM), were also evaluated. Reduced and no-tillage practices, as well as the additions of manure or compost, increased the aggregates mean weight diameter (MWD) and topsoil OC, as well as the OC corresponding to the different aggregate size fractions. The incorporation of crop residues had a positive impact on the MWD but a less profound effect on OC content both on total OC and on OC associated with the different aggregates. A negative relationship between the mass and the OC content of the microaggregates (53–250 μm) was identified in all experiments. There was no effect on the mass of the macroaggregates and the occluded microaggregates (mM) within these, while the corresponding OC contents increased with less tillage and more organic inputs. Inversion tillage led to less POM within the mM, whereas the different organic inputs did not affect it. In all experiments where the total POM increased, the total soil organic carbon (SOC) was also affected positively. We concluded that the negative effects of inversion tillage on topsoil can be mitigated by reducing the tillage intensity or by adding organic materials, optimally combined with non-inversion tillage methods.

Ioanna S. Panagea 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-2022-28', Anonymous Referee #1, 23 May 2022
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Ioanna Panagea, 24 May 2022
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC1', Ioanna Panagea, 21 Jun 2022
  • RC2: 'Comment on soil-2022-28', Anonymous Referee #2, 24 May 2022
    • AC3: 'Reply on RC2', Ioanna Panagea, 21 Jun 2022

Ioanna S. Panagea et al.

Ioanna S. Panagea et al.

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Short summary
The potential to reverse the negative effects caused in the tosoil by inversion tillage, using alternative agricultural practices was evaluated. Reduced and no-tillage, and additions of manure/compost, improved the topsoil structure and the OC content. Residues retention had a positive impact on structure. We concluded that the negative effects of inversion tillage can be mitigated by reducing the tillage intensity or by adding organic materials, optimally combined with non-inversion tillage.