Conservation Evidence strives to be as useful to conservationists as possible. Please take our survey to help the team improve our resource.

Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Combined use of compost and wood scraps to increase carbon stock and improve soil quality in intensive farming systems

Published source details

Scotti R., D'Ascoli R., Gonzalez C.M., Bonanomi G., Sultana S., Cozzolino L., Scelza R., Zoina A. & Rao M.A. (2015) Combined use of compost and wood scraps to increase carbon stock and improve soil quality in intensive farming systems. European Journal of Soil Science, 66, 463-475


This study is summarised as evidence for the intervention(s) shown on the right. The icon shows which synopsis it is relevant to.

Soil: Add compost to the soil Mediterranean Farmland

A replicated, randomized, controlled study in 2009–2011 in farmland in the Salerno district, Italy, found more organic matter and more nutrients in soils with added compost, compared to soils without added compost, in some comparisons, but less nitrate was found in some comparisons. Organic matter: More organic matter was found in soils with added compost, compared to soils without added compost, in some comparisons (farm 1: 30–100% more organic carbon, in 19 of 28 comparisons; farm 2: up to 70% more; number of significant comparisons not reported). Nutrients: More nitrate was found in soils with added compost, compared to soils without added compost, in some comparisons (Farm 1: 55–185% higher nitrate concentration, in eight of 16 reported comparisons; Farm 2: 45–70% higher, in four of 16 reported comparisons), but less nitrate was found in some comparisons (Farm 1: 45–55% less, in two of sixteen reported comparisons). More nitrogen and/or phosphorus were found in soils with added compost, compared to soils without added compost, in some comparisons (up to 50% more nitrogen; number of significant comparisons not reported; percentage increase in phosphorus not reported). Methods: There were three plots (approximately 30 m2) for each of eight treatments (30 or 60 t/ha of added organic matter, with carbon-to-nitrogen ratios of 15:1 or 2:1, with or without mineral fertilizer) and two controls (no organic matter, with or without mineral fertilizer), on two farms. Composted municipal solid waste was mixed with poplar tree prunings to control carbon-to-nitrogen ratios in the organic matter. Crops were grown in unheated glasshouses (farm 1: lettuce and melon; farm 2: kohlrabi). Organic matter was added in early 2009 and 2010. Soil samples were collected at seven time points in two years (five subsamples/plot, 0–20 cm depth). It was not clear whether these results were a direct effect of adding compost or adding poplar prunings.