Changes in soil organic carbon in croplands subjected to fertilizer management: a global meta-analysis.
ABSTRACT: Cropland soil organic carbon (SOC) is undergoing substantial alterations due to both environmental and anthropogenic changes. Although numerous case studies have been conducted, there remains a lack of quantification of the consequences of such environmental and anthropogenic changes on the SOC sequestration across global agricultural systems. Here, we conducted a global meta-analysis of SOC changes under different fertilizer managements, namely unbalanced application of chemical fertilizers (UCF), balanced application of chemical fertilizers (CF), chemical fertilizers with straw application (CFS), and chemical fertilizers with manure application (CFM). We show that topsoil organic carbon (C) increased by 0.9 (0.7-1.0, 95% confidence interval (CI))?g?kg(-1) (10.0%, relative change, hereafter the same), 1.7 (1.2-2.3)?g?kg(-1) (15.4%), 2.0 (1.9-2.2)?g?kg(-1) (19.5%) and 3.5 (3.2-3.8)?g?kg(-1) (36.2%) under UCF, CF, CFS and CFM, respectively. The C sequestration durations were estimated as 28-73 years under CFS and 26-117 years under CFM but with high variability across climatic regions. At least 2.0?Mg ha(-1) yr(-1) C input is needed to maintain the SOC in ~85% cases. We highlight a great C sequestration potential of applying CF, and adopting CFS and CFM is highly important for either improving or maintaining current SOC stocks across all agro-ecosystems.
Project description:China's croplands have experienced drastic changes in management practices, such as fertilization, tillage, and residue treatments, since the 1980s. There is an ongoing debate about the impact of these changes on soil organic carbon (SOC) and its implications. Here we report results from an extensive study that provided direct evidence of cropland SOC sequestration in China. Based on the soil sampling locations recorded by the Second National Soil Survey of China in 1980, we collected 4,060 soil samples in 2011 from 58 counties that represent the typical cropping systems across China. Our results showed that across the country, the average SOC stock in the topsoil (0-20 cm) increased from 28.6 Mg C ha-1 in 1980 to 32.9 Mg C ha-1 in 2011, representing a net increase of 140 kg C ha-1 year-1 However, the SOC change differed among the major agricultural regions: SOC increased in all major agronomic regions except in Northeast China. The SOC sequestration was largely attributed to increased organic inputs driven by economics and policy: while higher root biomass resulting from enhanced crop productivity by chemical fertilizers predominated before 2000, higher residue inputs following the large-scale implementation of crop straw/stover return policy took over thereafter. The SOC change was negatively related to N inputs in East China, suggesting that the excessive N inputs, plus the shallowness of plow layers, may constrain the future C sequestration in Chinese croplands. Our results indicate that cropland SOC sequestration can be achieved through effectively manipulating economic and policy incentives to farmers.
Project description:Soil microbes provide important ecosystem services. Though the effects of changes in nutrient availability due to fertilization on the soil microbial communities in the topsoil (tilled layer, 0-20 cm) have been extensively explored, the effects on communities and their associations with soil nutrients in the subsoil (below 20 cm) which is rarely impacted by tillage are still unclear. 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing was used to investigate bacterial and archaeal communities in a Pup-Calric-Entisol soil treated for 32 years with chemical fertilizer (CF) and CF combined with farmyard manure (CFM), and to reveal links between soil properties and specific bacterial and archaeal taxa in both the top- and subsoil. The results showed that both CF and CFM treatments increased soil organic carbon (SOC), soil moisture (MO) and total nitrogen (TN) while decreased the nitrate_N content through the profile. Fertilizer applications also increased Olsen phosphorus (OP) content in most soil layers. Microbial communities in the topsoil were significantly different from those in subsoil. Compared to the CF treatment, taxa such as Nitrososphaera, Nitrospira, and several members of Acidobacteria in topsoil and Subdivision 3 genera incertae sedis, Leptolinea, and Bellilinea in subsoil were substantially more abundant in CFM. A co-occurrence based network analysis demonstrated that SOC and OP were the most important soil parameters that positively correlated with specific bacterial and archaeal taxa in topsoil and subsoil, respectively. Hydrogenophaga was identified as the keystone genus in the topsoil, while genera Phenylobacterium and Steroidobacter were identified as the keystone taxa in subsoil. The taxa identified above are involved in the decomposition of complex organic compounds and soil carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus transformations. This study revealed that the spatial variability of soil properties due to long-term fertilization strongly shapes the bacterial and archaeal community composition and their interactions at both high and low taxonomic levels across the whole soil profile.
Project description:Bacteria, as the key component of soil ecosystems, participate in nutrient cycling and organic matter decomposition. However, how fertilization regime affects the rhizospheric bacterial community of reddish paddy soil remains unclear. Here, a long-term fertilization experiment initiated in 1982 was employed to explore the impacts of different fertilization regimes on physicochemical properties and bacterial communities of reddish paddy rhizospheric soil in Central South China by sequencing the 16S rRNA gene. The results showed that long-term fertilization improved the soil nutrient status and shaped the distinct rhizospheric bacterial communities. Particularly, chemical NPK fertilizers application significantly declined the richness of the bacterial community by 7.32%, whereas the application of manure alone or combined with chemical NPK fertilizers significantly increased the biodiversity of the bacterial community by 1.45%, 1.87% compared with no fertilization, respectively. Moreover, LEfSe indicated that application of chemical NPK fertilizers significantly enhanced the abundances of Verrucomicrobia and Nitrospiraceae, while manure significantly increased the abundances of Deltaproteobacteria and Myxococcales, but the most abundant Actinobacteria and Planctomycetes were detected in the treatment that combined application of manure and chemical NPK fertilizers. Furthermore, canonical correspondence analysis (CCA) and the Mantel test clarified that exchangeable Mg2+ (E-Mg2+), soil organic carbon (SOC) and alkali-hydrolyzable nitrogen (AN) are the key driving factors for shaping bacterial communities in the rhizosphere. Our results suggested that long-term balanced using of manure and chemical fertilizers not only increased organic material pools and nutrient availability but also enhanced the biodiversity of the rhizospheric bacterial community and the abundance of Actinobacteria, which contribute to the sustainable development of agro-ecosystems.
Project description:Low productivity and climate change require climate-smart agriculture (CSA) for sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), through (i) sustainably increasing crop productivity, (ii) enhancing the resilience of agricultural systems, and (iii) offsetting greenhouse gas emissions. We conducted a meta-analysis on experimental data to evaluate the contributions of combining organic and mineral nitrogen (N) applications to the three pillars of CSA for maize (Zea mays). Linear mixed effect modeling was carried out for; (i) grain productivity and agronomic efficiency of N (AE) inputs, (ii) inter-seasonal yield variability, and (iii) changes in soil organic carbon (SOC) content, while accounting for the quality of organic amendments and total N rates. Results showed that combined application of mineral and organic fertilizers leads to greater responses in productivity and AE as compared to sole applications when more than 100 kg N ha-1 is used with high-quality organic matter. For yield variability and SOC, no significant interactions were found when combining mineral and organic fertilizers. The variability of maize yields in soils amended with high-quality organic matter, except manure, was equal or smaller than for sole mineral fertilizer. Increases of SOC were only significant for organic inputs, and more pronounced for high-quality resources. For example, at a total N rate of 150 kg N ha-1 season-1, combining mineral fertilizer with the highest quality organic resources (50:50) increased AE by 20% and reduced SOC losses by 18% over 7 growing seasons as compared to sole mineral fertilizer. We conclude that combining organic and mineral N fertilizers can have significant positive effects on productivity and AE, but only improves the other two CSA pillars yield variability and SOC depending on organic resource input and quality. The findings of our meta-analysis help to tailor a climate smart integrated soil fertility management in SSA.
Project description:Dynamics of cropland soil organic carbon (SOC) in response to different management practices and environmental conditions across North China Plain (NCP) were studied using a modeling approach. We identified the key variables driving SOC changes at a high spatial resolution (10 km × 10 km) and long time scale (90 years). The model used future climatic data from the FGOALS model based on four future greenhouse gas (GHG) concentration scenarios. Agricultural practices included different rates of nitrogen (N) fertilization, manure application, and stubble retention. We found that SOC change was significantly influenced by the management practices of stubble retention (linearly positive), manure application (linearly positive) and nitrogen fertilization (nonlinearly positive) - and the edaphic variable of initial SOC content (linearly negative). Temperature had weakly positive effects, while precipitation had negligible impacts on SOC dynamics under current irrigation management. The effects of increased N fertilization on SOC changes were most significant between the rates of 0 and 300 kg ha-1 yr-1. With a moderate rate of manure application (i.e., 2000 kg ha-1 yr-1), stubble retention (i.e., 50%), and an optimal rate of nitrogen fertilization (i.e., 300 kg ha-1 yr-1), more than 60% of the study area showed an increase in SOC, and the average SOC density across NCP was relatively steady during the study period. If the rates of manure application and stubble retention doubled (i.e., manure application rate of 4000 kg ha-1 yr-1 and stubble retention rate of 100%), soils across more than 90% of the study area would act as a net C sink, and the average SOC density kept increasing from 40 Mg ha-1 during 2010s to the current worldwide average of ? 55 Mg ha-1 during 2060s. The results can help target agricultural management practices for effectively mitigating climate change through soil C sequestration.
Project description:An understanding of how fertilization influences endophytes is crucial for sustainable agriculture, since the manipulation of the plant microbiome could affect plant fitness and productivity. This study was focused on the response of microbial communities in the soil and tubers to the regular application of manure (MF; 330 kg N/ha), sewage sludge (SF; 330 and SF3x; 990 kg N/ha), and chemical fertilizer (NPK; 330-90-300 kg N-P-K/ha). Unfertilized soil was used as a control (CF), and the experiment was set up at two distinct sites. All fertilization treatments significantly altered the prokaryotic and fungal communities in soil, whereas the influence of fertilization on the community of endophytes differed for each site. At the site with cambisol, prokaryotic and fungal endophytes were significantly shifted by MF and SF3 treatments. At the site with chernozem, neither the prokaryotic nor fungal endophytic communities were significantly associated with fertilization treatments. Fertilization significantly increased the relative abundance of the plant-beneficial bacteria Stenotrophomonas, Sphingomonas and the arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. In tubers, the relative abundance of Fusarium was lower in MF-treated soil compared to CF. Although fertilization treatments clearly influenced the soil and endophytic community structure, we did not find any indication of human pathogens being transmitted into tubers via organic fertilizers.
Project description:Unreasonable use of chemical fertilizer (CF) on agricultural soil leads to massive losses of soil organic carbon (SOC) and total nitrogen (TN) in tropical and subtropical areas, where soil conditions are unfavorable for aggregate formation. This study evaluated the effects of combined application of biogas slurry (BS) plus CF on soil aggregation and aggregate-associated C/N concentration and storage in an Ultisol. Six treatments included: no fertilizer (T1), CF only (T2), partial (15% (T3), 30% (T4) and 45% (T5)) substitution of TN with BS and BS only (T6). Soil mechanical-stable aggregates (MSAs) formation and stability as well as MSAs-associated C/N concentration and storage were observed in different aggregate sizes (>5, 5-2, 2-1, 1.0-0.5, 0.50-0.25 and <0.25 mm). The proportion of MSAs >5 mm significantly increased with BS substitution (T5), while the proportions of MSAs 1.0-0.5 mm, MSAs 0.50-0.25 mm and MSAs <0.25 mm significantly decreased. Both mean weight diameter and geometric mean diameter were highest in T5, which improved soil aggregation stability as well as resulted in significantly higher SOC and TN concentrations and storage in MSAs >0.5 mm that constituted 72-82% of MSAs. Stepwise regression analysis showed that MSAs >5 mm, SOC in MSAs >5 mm and TN in MSAs >5 mm were the dominant variables affecting aggregate stability. Meanwhile SOC in MSAs <0.25 mm and TN in MSAs 2-1 mm were independent variables affecting SOC and TN concentrations in bulk soils. Therefore, certain rate of combined application of BS plus CF is an effective, eco-friendly way to improve soil quality in an Ultisol.
Project description:The extensive use of chemical fertilizers poses serious collateral problems such as environmental pollution, pest resistance development and food safety decline. Researches focused on applying plant-beneficial microorganisms to partially replace chemical fertilizer use is increasing due to the requirement of sustainable agriculture development. Thus to investigate the possibility of a plant-beneficial Trichoderma strain and its bio-organic fertilizer product in saving chemical fertilizer application and in improving crop quality, a field trial and continuous pot experiments were carried out with tomato. Four treatments were set up: a reduced application of chemical fertilizer (75% of the conventional application) plus Trichoderma-enriched bio-organic fertilizer (BF), organic fertilizer (OF) or Trichoderma spore suspension (SS), with using the 100% rate of the conventional chemical fertilizer as the control (CF). The results showed that the total soluble sugar, Vitamin C and nitrate accumulations were, respectively, +up to 24%, +up to 57% and -up to 62% in the tomatoes of the BF treatment compared to those of the control (CF). And both of the pot and field trials revealed that reduced rates of chemical fertilizer plus bio-organic fertilizer produced tomato yields equivalent to those obtained using the 100% of the chemical fertilizer. However, application with the inoculant alone (SS) or combined with the organic fertilizer alone (OF) would lead to a yield decreases of 6-38% and 9-35% over the control. Since the increased abundance of soil microflora and the enhanced soil fertility frequently showed positive linear correlations especially in the BF-treated soils, we conclude that the efficacy of this bio-organic fertilizer for maintaining a stable tomato yield and improving tomato quality may be due to the improved soil microbial activity. Thus, the results suggest that the Trichoderma bio-organic fertilizer could be employed in combination with the appropriate rates of chemical fertilizers to get maximum benefits regarding yield, quality and fertilizer savings.
Project description:Long-term manure application is recognized as an efficient management practice to enhance soil organic carbon (SOC) accumulation and nitrogen (N) mineralization capacity. A field study was established in 1979 to understand the impact of long-term manure and/or chemical fertilizer application on soil fertility in a continuous maize cropping system. Soil samples were collected from field plots in 2012 from 9 fertilization treatments (M0CK, M0N, M0NPK, M30CK, M30N, M30NPK, M60CK, M60N, and M60NPK) where M0, M30, and M60 refer to manure applied at rates of 0, 30, and 60 t ha(-1) yr(-1), respectively; CK indicates no fertilizer; N and NPK refer to chemical fertilizer in the forms of either N or N plus phosphorus (P) and potassium (K). Soils were separated into three particle-size fractions (2000-250, 250-53, and <53 ?m) by dry- and wet-sieving. A laboratory incubation study of these separated particle-size fractions was used to evaluate the effect of long-term manure, in combination with/without chemical fertilization application, on the accumulation and mineralization of SOC and total N in each fraction. Results showed that long-term manure application significantly increased SOC and total N content and enhanced C and N mineralization in the three particle-size fractions. The content of SOC and total N followed the order 2000-250 ?m > 250-53 ?m > 53 ?m fraction, whereas the amount of C and N mineralization followed the reverse order. In the <53 ?m fraction, the M60NPK treatment significantly increased the amount of C and N mineralized (7.0 and 10.1 times, respectively) compared to the M0CK treatment. Long-term manure application, especially when combined with chemical fertilizers, resulted in increased soil microbial biomass C and N, and a decreased microbial metabolic quotient. Consequently, long-term manure fertilization was beneficial to both soil C and N turnover and microbial activity, and had significant effect on the microbial metabolic quotient.
Project description:Contamination caused by inappropriate carbon fibre (CF) storage may have an impact on their end use in reinforced composite materials. Due to the chemical complexity of CFs it is not easy to detect potential contaminants, especially at the early stage during manufacturing and handling. In this paper, X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS), Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy and Surface Energy Analysis (IGC-SEA) were used to assess the surfaces of CFs stored in polyolefin zip-lock bags for possible contamination. Only after over 2 months in-bag storage, was XPS capable of detecting a minor increase in nitrogen on the CF surface while FTIR revealed the presence of fatty acid amides and fatty acids, both associated with the storage media. However neither of these techniques were sensitive enough to show significant evolution of the amount of contamination as a function of storage time. In contrast, IGC-SEA distinguished surface energy differences between CFs before and after storage. These differences were found to change as a function of storage time, which were attributed to increases in contamination amounts. Single fibre fragmentation tests indicated that the surface contamination had potential to disrupt the fibre-matrix interface. These findings provide a new method for assessing the surface contamination of CFs with potential application to other materials.