Study

Soil structural stability and erosion rates influenced by agricultural management practices in a semi-arid Mediterranean agro-ecosystem

  • Published source details García-Orenes F., Roldán A., Mataix-Solera J., Cerda A., Campoy M., Arcenegui V. & Caravaca F. (2012) Soil structural stability and erosion rates influenced by agricultural management practices in a semi-arid Mediterranean agro-ecosystem. Soil Use and Management, 28, 571-579.

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Add mulch to crops

Action Link
Soil Fertility

Grow cover crops when the field is empty

Action Link
Soil Fertility

Change tillage practices

Action Link
Soil Fertility
  1. Add mulch to crops

    A controlled, replicated experiment in 2005-2009 on silty loam soil in eastern Spain (García-Orenes et al. 2012) found that after five years, oat Avena sativa straw mulching had the highest levels of soil organic matter (4.5% of the soil), arbuscular mycorrhizal proteins (1,350 mg proteins/g soil) and aggregate stability (80%)  compared to herbicide or ploughed plots (2% organic matter, 700 and 400 mg/g proteins, 41% and 57% aggregate stability, respectively). Plots with oat mulching also had lower soil erosion rates (0 Mg/ha/h soil loss) than herbicide or ploughed plots (0.97 Mg/ha/h and 0.01 Mg/ha/h, respectively). The other treatments had similar values to an abandoned land control. There were three replicates of five management treatments including: herbicide  application; ploughing; ploughing then sowing oats; addition of oat straw mulch (0.25 kg/m2/year); and land abandonment (control). Plots were 6 x 10 m. Soil under native vegetation was used as a reference. Six soil samples from each plot were taken annually to 5 cm depth. Five rainfall simulations were also conducted during the summer drought period to test erosion on 1 m2 plots. Simulations lasted one hour at 55 mm/h.

     

  2. Grow cover crops when the field is empty

    A controlled, replicated experiment in 2005-2009 on silty loam soil in eastern Spain (García-Orenes et al. 2012) found no marked difference between the soil in the ploughed then sown oats Avena sativa treatment and the control, after five years. There were three replicates of five management treatments including: residual herbicide use; ploughing (4 times a year to 20 cm depth); ploughing then sown oats (as before, then oats sown in spring); addition of oat straw mulch; land abandonment (control). Plots were 6 × 10 m. Soil under native vegetation was used as a reference. Six soil samples from each plot were taken annually to 5 cm depth. Five rainfall simulations were also conducted during the summer drought period on 1 m2 plots. Simulations lasted one hour at 55 mm/h (simulating thunderstorm rain levels). The study measured soil organic matter, arbuscular mycorrhizal proteins, aggregate stability and soil erosion.

     

  3. Change tillage practices

    A controlled, replicated experiment in 2005-2009 on silty loam soil in eastern Spain (García-Orenes et al. 2012) found that after five years, conventional ploughing gave the lowest levels of soil organic matter (2%), arbuscular mycorrhizal proteins (400 mg/g soil), aggregate stability (57%), and higher soil erosion rates (0.01 Mg/ha/h) compared to soil under native vegetation. Ploughing plus sown oats had similar values to conventional ploughing. All treatments without ploughing had similar values to the control (2.7% organic matter, 696 mg/g soil, 57.4% aggregate stability and 0.01 Mg/ha/hour respectively). There were three replicates of five management treatments including: ploughing (four times/year to 20 cm depth), ploughing (as before) then sowing oats, herbicide application (three times/year) and no ploughing, addition of oat straw mulch and no ploughing, and land abandonment (control). Plots were 6 x 10 m. Soil under native vegetation was used as a reference. Six soil samples from each plot were taken annually to 5 cm depth. Five rainfall simulations were also conducted during the summer drought period on 1 m2 plots to test for soil erosion. Simulations lasted one hour at 55 mm/h.

     

Output references
What Works 2021 cover

What Works in Conservation

What Works in Conservation provides expert assessments of the effectiveness of actions, based on summarised evidence, in synopses. Subjects covered so far include amphibians, birds, mammals, forests, peatland and control of freshwater invasive species. More are in progress.

More about What Works in Conservation

Download free PDF or purchase
The Conservation Evidence Journal

The Conservation Evidence Journal

An online, free to publish in, open-access journal publishing results from research and projects that test the effectiveness of conservation actions.

Read the latest volume: Volume 18

Go to the CE Journal

Discover more on our blog

Our blog contains the latest news and updates from the Conservation Evidence team, the Conservation Evidence Journal, and our global partners in evidence-based conservation.


Who uses Conservation Evidence?

Meet some of the evidence champions

Endangered Landscape Programme Red List Champion - Arc Kent Wildlife Trust The Rufford Foundation Save the Frogs - Ghana Bern wood Supporting Conservation Leaders National Biodiversity Network Sustainability Dashboard Frog Life The international journey of Conservation - Oryx British trust for ornithology Cool Farm Alliance UNEP AWFA Butterfly Conservation People trust for endangered species Vincet Wildlife Trust