Advertisement

Biogeochemistry

, Volume 42, Issue 1–2, pp 55–72 | Cite as

Plant-induced Changes in Soil Structure: Processes and Feedbacks

  • Denis A. Angers
  • Jean Caron
Article

Abstract

Soil structure influences the growth and activity of organisms living in soil. In return, microbes, fauna, and plants affect structure. The objective of this paper is to review the role of plants in modifying soil structure. Vegetation affects structural form and stability at different scales and through various direct and indirect mechanisms. By penetrating the soil, roots form macropores which favour fluid transport. They also create zones of failure which contribute to fragment the soil and form aggregates. This phenomenon is enhanced by the wetting and drying cycles associated with plant growth. Drying also causes shrinkage and strengthening of the soil. Anchorage of roots and the exudation of cementing material stabilizes soil structure. Finally, as a source of C, roots and plant residues provide a food source to the microflora and fauna which contribute to structure formation and stabilization. In return, plant-induced changes in structure will affect plant growth mostly by modifying the root physical environment, and the water and nutrient cycles.

plants roots soil structure soil porosity soil aggregation 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Angers DA (1992) Changes in soil aggregation and organic carbon under corn and alfalfa. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 56: 1244-1249Google Scholar
  2. Angers DA & Mehuys GR (1988) Effects of cropping on macroaggregation of a marine clay soil. Can. J. Soil Sci. 68: 723-732Google Scholar
  3. Angers DA & Mehuys GR (1989) Effects of cropping on carbohydrate content and water-stable aggregation of a clay soil. Can. J. Soil Sci. 69: 373-380Google Scholar
  4. Angers DA & Mehuys GR (1993) Aggregate stability to water. In: Carter MR (Ed) Chapter 61. Soil Sampling and Methods of Analysis (pp 651-657). CRC Press, Boca Raton, FloridaGoogle Scholar
  5. Angers DA, Kay BD & Groenevelt PH (1987) Compaction characteristics of a soil cropped to corn and bromegrass. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 51: 779-783Google Scholar
  6. Angers DA, Recous S & Aita C (1997) Fate of carbon and nitrogen in water-stable aggregates during decomposition of 13C15N-labelled wheat straw in situ. Europ. J. Soil Sci. 48: 295-300Google Scholar
  7. Barley KP (1954) Effects of root growth and decay on the permeability of a synthetic sandy loam. Soil Sci. 78: 205-211Google Scholar
  8. Beven K & Germann P (1982) Macropores and water flow in soils. Water Resour. Res. 18: 1311-1325Google Scholar
  9. Bowen GD & Rovira AD (1991) The rhizosphere. In: Waisel Y et al. (Ed) Plant Roots. The Hidden Half (pp 641-669). Marcel Dekker, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  10. Bruand A, Cousin I, Nicoulland B, Duval O & Bégon JC (1996) Backscatter electron scanning images of soil porosity for analyzing soil compaction around roots. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 60: 895-901Google Scholar
  11. Bui Huu Tri (1968) Dynamique de la granulation du sol sous prairie. Ann. Agron. 19: 415-439Google Scholar
  12. Buyanovsky GA, Aslarn M & Wagner GH (1994) Carbon turnover in soil physical fractions. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 58: 1167-1173Google Scholar
  13. Capriel P, Beck T, Borchert H & Harter P (1990) Relationship between soil aliphatic fraction extracted with supercritical hexane, soil microbial biomass, and soil aggregate stability. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 54: 415-420Google Scholar
  14. Caron J. & Kay BD (1992) Rate of response of structural stability to a change in water content: influence of cropping history. Soil Till. Res. 25: 167-185Google Scholar
  15. Caron J, Kay BD & Perfect E (1992a) Short term decrease in soil structural stability following bromegrass establishment on a clay loam soil. Plant Soil. 145: 121-130Google Scholar
  16. Caron J, Kay BD & Stone JA (1992b) Modeling temporal changes in structural stability of a clay loam soil. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 56: 1597-1604Google Scholar
  17. Caron J, Kay BD & Stone JA (1992c) Improvement of structural stability of a clay loam with drying. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 56: 1583-1590Google Scholar
  18. Caron J, Banton O, Angers DA & Villeneneuve JP (1996a) Preferential bromide transport through a clay loam under alfalfa and corn. Geoderma 69: 175-191Google Scholar
  19. Caron, J, Espindola CR & Angers DA (1996b) Soil structural stability during rapid wetting: influence of land use on some aggregate properties. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 60: 901-908Google Scholar
  20. Carter MR, Angers DA & Kunelius HT (1994) Soil structural form and stability, and organic matter under cool-season perennial grasses. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 58: 1194-1199Google Scholar
  21. Chan KY & Hodgson AS (1984) Moisture regimes of a cracking clay used for cotton production. Rev. Rural Sci. 5: 176-180Google Scholar
  22. Chantigny MH, Angers DA, Prévost D, Vézina LP, Chalifour FP (1997) Soil aggregation, and fungal and bacterial biomass under annual and perennial cropping systems. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 61: 262-267Google Scholar
  23. Clapp CE, Davis RJ & Waugaman SH (1962) The effect of rhizobial polysaccharides on aggregate stability. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. Proc. 26: 466-469Google Scholar
  24. Da Silva AP, Kay BD & Perfect E (1994) Characterization of the least limiting water range of soils. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 58: 1775-1781Google Scholar
  25. Degens BP, Sparling GP & Abbott LK (1996) Increasing the length of hyphae in a sandy soil increases the amount of water-stable aggregates. Appl. Soil Ecol. 3: 149-159Google Scholar
  26. Dexter AR (1987) Compression of soil around roots. Plant Soil 97: 401-406Google Scholar
  27. Dexter AR (1991) Amelioration of soil by natural processes. Soil Till. Res. 20: 87-100Google Scholar
  28. Dexter AR, Horn R & Kemper WD (1988) Two mechanisms of age hardening of soil. J. Soil Sci. 39: 163-175Google Scholar
  29. Dinel H, Lévesque PEM, Jamby P & Righi D (1992) Microbial activity and long-chain aliphatics in the formation of stable soil aggregates. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 56: 1455-1463Google Scholar
  30. Dorioz JM, Robert M & Chenu C (1993) The role of roots, fungi and bacteria on clay particle organization. An experimental approach. Geoderma 56: 179-194Google Scholar
  31. Dormaar JF & Foster RC (1991) Nascent aggregates in the rhizosphere of perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenneL.). Can. J. Soil Sci. 71: 465-474Google Scholar
  32. Drury CF, Stone JA & Findlay WI (1991) Microbial biomass and soil structure associated with corn, grasses, and legumes. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 55: 805-811Google Scholar
  33. Dufey JE, Halen H & Frankart R (1986) Evolution de la stabilité structurale du sol sous l'influence des racines de trèfle (Trifolium pratenseL.) et de ray-grass (Lolium multiflorum Lmk.). Observations pendant et après culture. Agronomie 6: 811-817Google Scholar
  34. Edwards AP & Bremner JM (1967) Domains and quasicrystalline regions in clay systems. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. Proc. 35: 650-654Google Scholar
  35. Edwards WM, Shipitalo MJ, Owens LB & Norton LD (1989) Water and nitrate movement in earthworm burrows within long-term no-till corn fields. J. Soil Water Cons. 44: 240-243Google Scholar
  36. Ehlers W (1975) Observation on earthworm channels and infiltration on tilled and untilled loess soils. Soil Sci. 119: 242-249Google Scholar
  37. Elliott ET (1986) Aggregate structure and carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus in native and cultivated soils. Soil sci. Soc. Am. J. 50: 627-633Google Scholar
  38. Elliott ET, Anderson RV, Coleman DC & Cole CV (1980) Habitable pore space and microbial trophic interactions. Oikos 35: 327-335Google Scholar
  39. Forster SM (1990) The role of microorganisms in aggregate formation and soil stabilization: types of aggregation. Arid Soil Res. Rehabilitation 4: 85-98Google Scholar
  40. Foster RC & Rovira AD (1976) Ultrastructure of wheat rhizosphere. New Phytol. 76: 343-352Google Scholar
  41. Fox WE (1964) Cracking characteristics and field capacity in a swelling soil. Soil Sci. 98: 413Google Scholar
  42. Gerard CJ, Mehta HC & Hinojosa E (1972) Root growth in a clay soil. Soil Sci. 114: 37-49Google Scholar
  43. Gibbs RJ & Reid JB (1988) A conceptual model of changes in soil structure under different cropping systems. Adv. Soil Sci. 8: 123-149Google Scholar
  44. Golchin A, Oades JM, Skjemstad JO & Clarke P (1994) Soil structure and carbon cycling. Aust. J. Soil Res. 32: 1043-1068Google Scholar
  45. Goss MJ (1991) Consequences of the activity of roots on soil. In: Atkinson D (Ed) Plant Root Growth. An Ecological Perspective (pp 161-186). Special public. No. 10Google Scholar
  46. Gouzou L, Burtin G, Philippy R, Bartoli F & Heulin T (1993) Effect of inoculation with Bacillus polymyxaon soil aggregation in the wheat rhizosphere: preliminary examination. Geoderma 56: 479-491Google Scholar
  47. Grevers MCJ & De Jong E (1990) The characterization of soil macroporosity of a clay soil under ten grasses using image analysis. Can. J. Soil Sci. 70: 93-103Google Scholar
  48. Guérif J (1979) Rôle de la matière organique sur le comportement d'un sol au compactage, II. Matières organiques libres et liées. Ann. Agron. 30: 469-480Google Scholar
  49. Guidi G, Poggio G & Petruzelli G (1985) The porosity of soil aggregates from bulk soil and soil adhering to roots. Plant Soil 87: 311-314Google Scholar
  50. Haynes RJ & Switt RS (1990) Stability of soil aggregates in relation to organic constituents and soil water. J. Soil Sci. 41: 73-83Google Scholar
  51. Haynes RJ & Francis GS (1993) Changes in microbial biomass C, soil carbohydrates and aggregate stability induced by growth of selected crop and forage species under field conditions. J. Soil Sci. 44: 665-675Google Scholar
  52. Horn R & Dexter AR (1989) Dynamics of soil aggregation in a desert loess. Soil Till. Res. 13: 253-266Google Scholar
  53. Horn R, Taubner H, Wuttke M & Baumgartl T (1994) Soil physical properties related to soil structure. Soil Till. Res. 30: 187-216Google Scholar
  54. Jakobsen BF & Dexter AR (1988) Influence of biopores on root growth, water uptake and grain yield of wheat (Triticum aestivum) based on predictions from a computer model. Biol. Fertil. Soils 6: 315-321Google Scholar
  55. Jastrow JD (1987) Changes in soil aggregation associated with tallgrass prairie restoration. Amer. J. Bot. 74: 1656-1664Google Scholar
  56. Jastrow JD (1996) Soil aggregate formation and the accrual of particulate and mineral-associated organic matter. Soil Biol. Biochem. 4–5: 665-676Google Scholar
  57. Kay BD (1990) Rates of change of soil structure under different cropping systems. Adv. Soil Sci. 12: 1-52Google Scholar
  58. Kemper WD & Rosenau RC (1984) Soil cohesion as affected by time and water content. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 48: 1001-1006Google Scholar
  59. Kemper WD & Rosenau RC (1986) Aggregate stability and size distribution. In: Page AL (Ed) Methods of Soil Analysis. Part 1. Physical and Mineralogical Methods (pp 425-442). Agronomy no. 9. ASA. Madison WIGoogle Scholar
  60. Kleinfelder D, Swanson S, Norris G & Clary W (1992) Unconfined compressive strength of some streambank soils with herbaceous roots. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 56: 1920-1925Google Scholar
  61. Ladd JN, Foster RC & Oades JM (1996) Soil structure and biological activity. In: Stotzky G & Bollag JM (Eds) Soil Biochemistry. Vol. 9. Marcel Dekker, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  62. Lafond J, Angers DA & Laverdière MR (1992) Compression characteristics of a clay soil as influenced by crops and sampling dates. Soil Till. Res. 22: 233-241Google Scholar
  63. Lafond J, Angers DA & Laverdière MR (1993) Water-stable macroaggregation in soils amended with various organic materials. In: Caron J & Angers DA (Eds) Proceedings of the Eastern Canada Soil Structure Workshop (pp 115-127). Université Laval, CanadaGoogle Scholar
  64. Le Bissonnais Y & Arrouyais D (1997) Aggregate stability and assessment of soil crustability and erodibility: II. Application to humic loamy soils with various organic carbon contents. Eur. J. Soil Sci. 48: 39-48Google Scholar
  65. Letey J (1985) Relationship between physical properties and crop properties and crop productions. Adv. Soil Sci. 1: 277-294Google Scholar
  66. Luxmoore RJ (1981) Micro, meso and macroporosity of soil. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 45: 671-672Google Scholar
  67. Marinissen JCY, Nijhuis E & van Breemen N (1996) Clay dispersability in moist earthworm casts of different soils. Appl. Soil Ecol. 4: 83-92Google Scholar
  68. Marinissen JCY & Dexter AR (1990) Mechanisms of stabilization in earthworm casts and artificial casts. Biol. Fertil. Soils 9: 163-167Google Scholar
  69. Materechera SA, Dexter AR & Alston AM (1992) Formation of aggregates by plant roots in homogenised soils. Plant Soil 142: 69-79Google Scholar
  70. Materechera SA, Kirby JM, Alston AM & Dexter AR (1994) Modification of soil aggregation by watering regime and roots growing through beds of large aggregates. Plant Soil 160: 57-66Google Scholar
  71. Meek BD, Rechel EA, Carter LM & DeTar WR (1989) Changes ininfiltration under alfalfa as influences by time and wheel traffic. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 53: 238-241Google Scholar
  72. Meek BD, DeTar WR, Rolph D, Rechel ER & Carter LM (1990) Infiltration rate as affected by an alfalfa and no-till cotton cropping system. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 54: 505-508Google Scholar
  73. Miller RM & Jastrow JD (1990) Hierarchy of root and mycorrhizal fungal interactions with soil aggregation. Soil Biol. Biochem. 5: 579-584Google Scholar
  74. Mitchell AR & van Genuchten MT (1992) Shrinkage of bare and cultivated soil. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 56: 1036-1042Google Scholar
  75. Mitchell AR, Ellsworth TR & Meek BD (1995) Effect of root systems on preferential flow in swelling soil. Commun. Soil Sci. Pl. Anal. 26: 2655-2666Google Scholar
  76. Morel JL, Habib L, Plantureux S & Guckert A (1991) Influence of maize root mucilage on soil aggregate stability. Plant Soil 136: 111-119Google Scholar
  77. Oades JM (1984) Soil organic matter and structural stability mechanisms and implications for management. Plant Soil 76: 319-337Google Scholar
  78. Oades JM (1993) The role of biology in the formation, stabilization and degradation of soil structure. Geoderma 56: 377-400Google Scholar
  79. Oades JM & Waters AG (1991) Aggregate hierarchy in soils. Aust. J. Soil Res. 29: 815-828Google Scholar
  80. Pojasok T & Kay BD (1990) Effect of root exudates from corn and bromegrass on soil structural stability. Can. J. Soil Sci. 70: 351-362Google Scholar
  81. Ravina I (1983) The influence of vegetation on moisture and volume changes. Géotechnique 33: 151-157Google Scholar
  82. Rawitz E, Hadas A Etkin H & Margolin M (1994) Short-term variations of soil physical properties as a function of the amounts and C/N ratio of decomposing cotton residues. II. Soil compressibility, water retention and hydraulic conductivity. Soil Till. Res. 32: 199-212Google Scholar
  83. Reid JB, Goss MJ & Robertson PD (1982) Relationships between the decreases in soil stability effected by the growth of maize roots and changes in organically bound iron and aluminium. J. Soil Sci. 33: 397-410Google Scholar
  84. Reid JB & Goss MJ (1981) Effect of living roots of different plant species on the aggregate stability of two arable soils. J. Soil Sci. 32: 521-541Google Scholar
  85. Roberson, EB, Sarig S, Shennan C & Firestone MK (1995) Nutritional management of microbial polysaccharide production and aggregation in an agricultural soil. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 59: 1587-1594Google Scholar
  86. Roberson EB, Sarig S & Firestone MK (1991) Cover crop management of polysaccharide-mediated aggregation in an orchard soil. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 55: 734-739Google Scholar
  87. Rovira AD & Greacen EL (1957) The effect of aggregate disruption on the activity of microorganisms in soil. Aust. J. Soil Res. 8: 659-673Google Scholar
  88. Russell EW (1973) Soil Conditions and Plant Growth. Longman, London, p 37Google Scholar
  89. Semmel H, Horn R, Hell U, Dexter AR & Schulze ED (1990) The dynamics of soil aggregate formation and the effect on soil physical properties. Soil Technology 3: 113-129Google Scholar
  90. Shipitalo MJ & Protz R (1988) Factors influencing the dispersibility of clay in worm casts. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 52: 764-769Google Scholar
  91. Shipitalo MJ, Protz R & Tomlin AD (1988) Effect of diet on the feeding and casting activity of Lumbricus terrestrisand L. Rubellusin laboratory cultures. Soil Biol. Biochem. 20: 233-237.Google Scholar
  92. Soane BD (1990) The role of organic matter in soil compactibility: a review of some practical aspects. Soil Till. Res. 16: 179-201Google Scholar
  93. Sorensen LH (1974) Rate of decomposition of organic matter in soil as influenced by repeated drying-rewetting and repeated additions of organic matter. Soil Biol. Biochem. 6: 287-292Google Scholar
  94. Stone JA & Buttery BR (1989) Nine forages and the aggregation of a clay loam soil. Can. J. Soil Sci. 69: 165-169.Google Scholar
  95. Sutton JC &, Sheppard BR (1976) Aggregation of sand dune soil by endomycorrhizal fungi. Can. J. Bot. 54: 326-333Google Scholar
  96. Thomas RS, Dakessian S, Ames RN, Brown MS & Bethlenfalvay GJ (1986) Aggregation of a silty loam soil by mycorrhizal onion roots. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 50: 1494-1499Google Scholar
  97. Thomas RS, Franson RL & Bethlenfalvay GJ (1993) Separation of vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus and root effects on soil aggregation. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 57: 77-81Google Scholar
  98. Tisdall JM, Cockroft B & Uren NC (1978) The stability of soil aggregates as affected by organic materials, microbial activity and physical disruption. Aust. J. Soil Res. 16: 9-17Google Scholar
  99. Tisdall JM & Oades JM (1979) Stabilization of soil aggregates by the root systems of ryegrass. Aust. J. Soil Res. 17: 429-441Google Scholar
  100. Tisdall JM & Oades JM (1982) Organic matter and water-stable aggregates. J. Soil Sci. 33: 141-163Google Scholar
  101. Van Noordwijk M, Schoonderbeek D & Kooistra MJ (1993) Root-soil contact of field-grown wheat. Geoderma 56: 277-286Google Scholar
  102. Van Wesenbeek I & Kachanoski RG (1988) Spatial and temporal distribution of soil water in the tilled layer under a corn crop. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 52: 363-368Google Scholar
  103. Waldron LJ & Dakessian S (1982) Effect of grass, legume, and tree roots on soil shearing resistance. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. 46: 894-899Google Scholar
  104. Waldron LJ, Dakessian S & Nemson JA (1983) Shear resistance enhancement of 1.22-meter diameter soil cross sections by pine and alfalfa roots. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. 47: 9-14Google Scholar
  105. Wright SF & Upadhyaya A (1996) Extraction of an abundant and unusual protein from soil and comparison with hyphal protein of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. Soil Sci. 161: 575-586Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Denis A. Angers
    • 1
  • Jean Caron
    • 2
  1. 1.Centre de Recherches sur les Sols et les Grandes CulturesAgriculture et Agroalimentaire Canada, 2560 Boul. HochelagaSainte-FoyCanada
  2. 2.Département des Sols et de Génie AgroalimentaireUniversitéLavalCanada

Personalised recommendations