Effects of cropping systems upon the three-dimensional architecture of soil systems are modulated by texture

Bacq-Labreuil, A., Crawford, J. , Mooney, S. J., Neal, A. L., Akkari, E., McAuliffe, C., Zhang, X., Redmile-Gordon, M. and Ritz, K. (2018) Effects of cropping systems upon the three-dimensional architecture of soil systems are modulated by texture. Geoderma, 332, pp. 73-83. (doi:10.1016/j.geoderma.2018.07.002) (PMID:30559518) (PMCID:PMC6088510)

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Abstract

Soil delivers fundamental ecosystem functions via interactions between physical and biological processes mediated by soil structure. The structure of soil is also dynamic and modified by natural factors and management intervention. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of different cropping systems on soil structure at contrasting spatial scales. Three systems were studied in replicated plot field experiments involving varying degrees of plant-derived inputs to the soil, viz. perennial (grassland), annual (arable), and no-plant control (bare fallow), associated with two contrasting soil textures (clayey and sandy). We hypothesized the presence of plants results in a greater range (diversity) of pore sizes and that perennial cropping systems invoke greater structural heterogeneity. Accordingly, the nature of the pore systems was visualised and quantified in 3D by X-ray Computed Tomography at the mm and μm scale. Plants did not affect the porosity of clay soil at the mm scale, but at the μm scale, annual and perennial plant cover resulted in significantly increased porosity, a wider range of pore sizes and greater connectivity compared to bare fallow soil. However, the opposite occurred in the sandy soil, where plants decreased the porosity and pore connectivity at the mm scale but had no significant structural effect at the μm scale. These data reveal profound effects of different agricultural management systems upon soil structural modification, which are strongly modulated by the extent of plant presence and also contingent on the inherent texture of the soil.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:The University of Nottingham Hounsfield Facility receives funding from BBSRC (Swindon, UK), and The Wolfson Foundation (London, UK). Work at Rothamsted is supported by the BBSRC-funded Soil to Nutrition strategic programme (BBS/E/C/000I0310) and jointly by the Natural Environment Research Council and BBSRC as part of the Achieving Sustainable Agricultural Systems research programme (NE/N018125/1 LTS-M). Access to the Highfield and Woburn Ley-Arable experiments is supported by the UK's Long-Term Experiment National Capability funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council Grant [grant number BBS/E/C/000J0300)].
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Crawford, Professor John
Authors: Bacq-Labreuil, A., Crawford, J., Mooney, S. J., Neal, A. L., Akkari, E., McAuliffe, C., Zhang, X., Redmile-Gordon, M., and Ritz, K.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > Adam Smith Business School > Management
Journal Name:Geoderma
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0016-7061
ISSN (Online):1872-6259
Published Online:10 July 2018
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2018 The Authors
First Published:First published in Geoderma 332: 73-83
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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