Advertisement

Biogeochemistry

, Volume 108, Issue 1–3, pp 17–26 | Cite as

Carbon input differences as the main factor explaining the variability in soil organic C storage in no-tilled compared to inversion tilled agrosystems

  • Iñigo VirtoEmail author
  • Pierre Barré
  • Aurélien Burlot
  • Claire Chenu
Synthesis and Emerging Ideas

Abstract

Conversion to no-till (NT) is usually associated to increased soil organic carbon (SOC) stocks in comparison to inversion tillage (IT). However, an important and unexplained variability in the changes in SOC with NT adoption exists, which impedes accurate prediction of its potential for C sequestration. We performed a meta-analysis with pedo-climatic and crop factors observed to influence SOC storage under NT at local and regional scales, in order to determine those better explaining this variability at a global scale. We studied SOC stocks (0–30 cm) in an equivalent soil mass, climatic and soil characteristics in 92 NT–IT paired cases. A sub-base with the 35 pairs providing C inputs was used to test their effect. Greater SOC stocks were observed with NT, with a smaller difference than often described (6.7%, i.e. 3.4 Mg C ha−1). Crop C inputs differences was the only factor significantly and positively related to SOC stock differences between NT and IT, explaining 30% of their variability. The variability in SOC storage induced by NT conversion seems largely related to the variability of the crop production response. Changes at the agro-ecosystem level, not only in soil, should be considered when assessing the potential of NT for C sequestration.

Keywords

No-tillage C sequestration Crop primary production Soil C C sinks 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors thank May Balabane (Unité Pessac, INRA Versailles, France) for her fruitful collaboration in this paper, and Naoise Nunan (Unité Mixte de Recherche BIOEMCO, CNRS-AgroParisTech, Thiverval-Grignon, France) for his help and contribution to the statistical treatment of data presented in this work. Iñigo Virto’s salary was paid by the Basque Government (Eusko Jaurlaritza, Spain). Pierre Barré’s salary was paid by the GIS “Climat-Environnement-Société” (Carbosoil project, France). W.A. Dick and J. Castellanos are thanked for providing data to complete the information found in their studies.

Supplementary material

10533_2011_9600_MOESM1_ESM.doc (205 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 205 kb)
10533_2011_9600_MOESM2_ESM.doc (231 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (DOC 231 kb)

References

  1. Alakukku L, Ristolainen A, Sarikka I, Hurme T (2010) Surface water ponding on clayey soils managed by conventional and conservation tillage in boreal conditions. Agric Food Sci 19:313–326CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Àlvarez R, Russo ME, Prystupa P, Scheiner JD, Blotta L (1998) Soil carbon pools under conventional and no-tillage systems in the Argentine rolling pampa. Agron J 90:138–143CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Angers DA, Eriksen-Hamel NS (2008) Full-inversion tillage and organic carbon distribution in soil profiles: a meta-analysis. Soil Sci Soc Am J 72:1370–1374CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Angers DA, Bolinder MA, Carter MR, Gregorich EG, Drury CF, Liang BC, Voroney RP, Simard RR, Donald RG, Beyaert RP, Martel J (1997) Impact of tillage practices on organic carbon and nitrogen storage in cool, humid soils of eastern Canada. Soil Tillage Res 41:191–201CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Arrouays D, Balesdent J, Germon GC, Jayet PA, Soussana JF, Stengel P (2002) Contribution à la lutte contre l’effet de serre. Stocker du carbone dans les sols agricoles de France? Expertise Scientifique Collective, Synthèse du rapport. INRA, ParisGoogle Scholar
  6. Baker JM, Ochsner TE, Venterea RT, Griffis TJ (2007) Tillage and soil carbon sequestration—what do we really know? Agric Ecosyst Environ 118:1–5CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bescansa P, Imaz MJ, Virto I, Enrique A, Hoogmoed WB (2006) Soil water retention capacity as affected by tillage systems under semiarid conditions in Navarra (NE Spain). Soil Tillage Res 87:19–27CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Black AL, Tanaka DL (1997) A conservation tillage-cropping systems study in the Northern Great Plains of the United States. In: Paul EA, Elliott ET, Paustian K, Cole CV (eds) Soil organic matter in temperate agroecosystems. Long-term experiments in North America. CRC Press, Boca Raton, pp 335–342Google Scholar
  9. Blanco-Canqui H, Lal R (2008) No-tillage and soil-profile carbon sequestration: an on-farm assessment. Soil Sci Soc Am J 72:693–701CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Campbell CA, McConkey BG, Zentner RP, Selles F, Curtin D (1996) Long-term effects of tillage and crop rotations on soil organic C and total N in a clay soil in southwestern Saskatchewan. Can J Soil Sci 76:395–401CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Carter MR (1994) Strategies to overcome impediments to adoption of conservation tillage. In: Carter MR (ed) Conservation tillage in temperate agroecosystems. CRC Press, Inc., Boca Raton, pp 3–19Google Scholar
  12. Carter MR (2005) Long-term tillage effects on cool-season soybean in rotation with barley, soil properties and carbon and nitrogen storage for fine sandy loams in the humid climate of Atlantic Canada. Soil Tillage Res 81:109–120CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Causarano HJ, Doraiswamy PC, McCarty GW, Hatfield JL, Milak S, Stern AJ (2008) EPIC modeling of soil organic carbon sequestration in croplands of Iowa. J Environ Qual 37:1345–1353CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. D’Haene K, Sleutel S, De Neve S, Gabriels D, Hofman G (2009) The effect of reduced tillage agriculture on carbon dynamics in silt loam soils. Nutr Cycl Agroecosyst 84:249–265CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Deen W, Kataki PK (2003) Carbon sequestration in a long-term conventional versus conservation tillage experiment. Soil Tillage Res 74:143–150CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. DeFelice MS, Carter PR, Mitchell SB (2006) Influence of tillage on corn and soybean yield in the United States and Canada. Crop Manag. doi: 10.1094/CM-2006-0626-01-RS
  17. Du Z, Ren T, Hu C (2010) Tillage and residue removal effects on soil carbon and nitrogen storage in the North China Plain. Soil Sci Soc Am J 74:196–202CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Ellert BH, Bettany JR (1995) Calculation of organic matter and nutrients stored in soils under contrasting management regimes. Can J Soil Sci 75:529–538CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Follett RF, Castellanos JZ, Buenger ED (2005) Carbon dynamics and sequestration in an irrigated Vertisol in Central Mexico. Soil Tillage Res 83:148–158CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Franzluebbers AJ (2005) Soil organic carbon sequestration and agricultural greenhouse gas emissions in the southeastern USA. Soil Tillage Res 83:120–147CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Franzluebbers AJ, Steiner JL (2002) Climatic influences on soil organic carbon storage with no tillage. In: Kimble JM, Lal R, Follett RF (eds) Agricultural practices and policies for carbon sequestration in soil. Lewis Publishers, Boca Raton, pp 71–86Google Scholar
  22. Giller KE, Witter E, Corbeels M, Tittonell P (2009) Conservation agriculture and smallholder farming in Africa: the heretics’ view. Field Crops Res 114:23–34CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Gregorich EG, Rochette P, VandenBygaart AJ, Angers DA (2005) Greenhouse gas contributions of agricultural soils and potential mitigation practices in Eastern Canada. Soil Tillage Res 83:53–72CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Halvorson AD, Wienhold BJ, Black AL (2002) Tillage, nitrogen, and cropping system effects on soil carbon sequestration. Soil Sci Soc Am J 66:906–912CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Hernanz JL, Lopez R, Navarrete L, Sanchez-Giron V (2002) Long-term effects of tillage systems and rotations on soil structural stability and organic carbon stratification in semiarid central Spain. Soil Tillage Res 66:129–141CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Johnson JMF, Reicosky DC, Allmaras RR, Sauer TJ, Venterea RT, Dell CJ (2005) Greenhouse gas contributions and mitigation potential of agriculture in the central USA. Soil Tillage Res 83:73–94CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Kern JS, Johnson MG (1993) Conservation tillage impacts on national soil and atmospheric carbon levels. Soil Sci Soc Am J 57:200–210CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Lal R (2004) Soil carbon sequestration to mitigate climate change. Geoderma 123:1–22CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Liebig MA, Tanaka DL, Wienhold BJ (2004) Tillage and cropping effects on soil quality indicators in the northern Great Plains. Soil Tillage Res 78:131–141CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Liebig MA, Morgan JA, Reeder JB (2005) Greenhouse gas contributions and mitigation potential of agricultural practices in Northwestern USA and western Canada. Soil Tillage Res 83:25–52CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. McConkey BG, Liang BC, Campbell CA, Curtin D, Moulin A, Brandt SA, Lafond GP (2003) Crop rotation and tillage impact on carbon sequestration on Canadian prairie soils. Soil Tillage Res 74:81–90CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Ogle SM, Breidt FJ, Paustian K (2005) Agricultural management impacts on soil organic carbon storage under moist and dry climatic conditions of temperate and tropical regions. Biogeochemistry 72:87–121CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Olson KR, Ebelhar SA (2009) Impacts of conservation tillage systems on long-term crop yields. J Agron 8:14–20CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Peterson GA, Halvorson AD, Havlin JL, Jones OR, Lyon DJ, Tanaka DL (1998) Reduced tillage and increasing cropping intensity in the Great Plains conserves soil C. Soil Tillage Res 47:207–218CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Puget P, Lal R (2005) Soil organic carbon and nitrogen in a Mollisol in central Ohio as affected by tillage and land use. Soil Tillage Res 80:201–213CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Riley H, Borresen T, Ekeberg E, Rydgberg T (1994) Trends in reduced tillage research and practice in Scandinavia. In: Carter MR (ed) Conservation tillage in temperate agroecosystems. CRC Press, Inc., Boca Raton, pp 23–45Google Scholar
  37. Sa JCM, Cerri CC, Dick WA, Lal R, Venske Filho SP, Piccolo MC, Feigl BE (2001) Organic matter dynamics and carbon sequestration rates for a tillage chronosequence in a Brazilian Oxisol. Soil Sci Soc Am J 65:1486–1499CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Sisti CPJ, dos Santos HP, Kohhann R, Alves BJR, Urquiaga S, Boddey RM (2004) Change in carbon and nitrogen stocks in soil under 13 years of conventional or zero tillage in southern Brazil. Soil Till Res 76:39–58.Google Scholar
  39. Six J, Conant RT, Paul EA, Paustian K (2002) Stabilization mechanisms of soil organic matter: implications for C-saturation of soils. Plant Soil 241:155–176CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. So HB, Grabski A, Desborough P (2009) The impact of 14 years of conventional and no-till cultivation on the physical properties and crop yields of a loam soil at Grafton NSW, Australia. Soil Tillage Res 104:180–184CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. VandenBygaart AJ, Gregorich EG, Angers DA (2003) Influence of agricultural management on soil organic carbon: a compendium and assessment of Canadian studies. Can J Soil Sci 83:363–380CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Wander MM, Bidart MG, Aref S (1998) Tillage impacts on depth distribution of total and particulate organic matter in three Illinois soils. Soil Sci Soc Am J 62:1704–1711CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Wang XB, Cai DX, Hoogmoed WB, Oenema O, Perdok UD (2006) Potential effect of conservation tillage on sustainable land use: a review of global long-term studies. Pedosphere 16:587–595CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Wanniarachchi SD, Voroney RP, Vyn TJ, Beyaert RP, MacKenzie AF (1999) Tillage effects on the dynamics of total and corn-reside-derived soil organic matter in two southern Ontario soils. Can J Soil Sci 79:463–480CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. West TO, Post WM (2002) Soil organic carbon sequestration rates by tillage and crop rotation: a global data analysis. Soil Sci Soc Am J 66:1930–1946CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Wienhold BJ, Andrews SS, Karlen DL (2004) Soil quality: a review of the science and experiences in the USA. Environ Geochem Health 26:89–95CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Zinn YL, Lal R, Resck DVS (2005) Changes in soil organic carbon stocks under agriculture in Brazil. Soil Tillage Res 84:28–40CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Iñigo Virto
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Pierre Barré
    • 3
    • 4
  • Aurélien Burlot
    • 5
  • Claire Chenu
    • 1
  1. 1.AgroParisTech, UMR BioEMCo, Bâtiment EGERThiverval-GrignonFrance
  2. 2.Departamento Ciencias del Medio NaturalUniversidad Pública de NavarraPamplonaSpain
  3. 3.CNRS, UMR BioEMCo, Bâtiment EGERThiverval-GrignonFrance
  4. 4.Laboratoire de Géologie, École Normale SupérieureCNRS, UMR 8538ParisFrance
  5. 5.Université Pierre et Marie Curie, UMR BioEMCoThiverval-GrignonFrance

Personalised recommendations