Agroforestry Systems

, Volume 92, Issue 2, pp 275–284 | Cite as

Soil organic carbon stock in relation to aggregate size and stability under tree-based cropping systems in Typic Ustochrepts

  • Jeevanjot DhaliwalEmail author
  • S. S. Kukal
  • Sandeep Sharma


The growing of tree crops along with the field crops is a common practice in foothills of lower Himalayas with the twin objective of checking soil erosion by water and covering the risk of crop failure due to frequently occurring droughts. A study was conducted to evaluate dry and water stable aggregates for their soil organic carbon (SOC) stocks under different tree-based cropping systems. The treatments consisted of three cropping systems viz. maize-wheat (sole crop), agroforestry and agrohorticulture (tree-based) in the similar soil texture and in 6 year old plantations. The soil samples were obtained from different layers (0–15, 15–30, 30–60, 60–90 and 90–120 cm) and analyzed for SOC. The undisturbed aggregate samples (as big clods) were collected from 0–15 and 15–30 cm soil layer for dry and wet aggregate stability. The data so obtained was analyzed by using CRD factorial deigns at LSD (P ≤ 0.05). The SOC concentration decreased with soil depth, the decrease was higher (89.6%) in soils under maize-wheat than in soils under agrohorticulture (81.3%) and agroforestry (77.8%). The mean SOC concentration decreased with the size of the dry stable aggregates (DSA) and water stable aggregates (WSA). In DSA, the mean SOC concentration was 58.06 and 24.2% higher in large and small macroaggregates than in microaggregates respectively; in WSA it was 295.6 and 226.08% higher in large and small macroaggregates than in microaggregates respectively in surface soil layer. The mean SOC concentration in surface soil was higher in DSA (0.79%) and WSA (0.63%) as compared to bulk soil (0.52%). The SOC concentration and stock being highest in soils under agroforestry resulted in higher SOC concentration in dry as well as WSA.


Dry stable aggregates Soil organic carbon Tree-based cropping system Water stable aggregates 


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Soil SciencePunjab Agricultural UniversityLudhianaIndia

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