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Individual study: Soil carbon dynamics as affected by long-term contrasting cropping systems and tillages under semiarid Mediterranean climate

Published source details

Laudicina V.A., Novara A., Gristina L. & Badalucco L. (2014) Soil carbon dynamics as affected by long-term contrasting cropping systems and tillages under semiarid Mediterranean climate. Applied Soil Ecology, 73, 140-147


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

Soil: Use crop rotations Mediterranean Farmland

A replicated, controlled study in 1999–2010 in a rainfed durum wheat field in Sicily, Italy, found less carbon and nitrogen, but more microbial biomass and higher greenhouse-gas emissions, in plots with wheat-bean rotations, compared to continuous wheat. Organic matter: Less organic carbon was found in soils with wheat-bean rotations, compared to plots with continuous wheat, in two of three comparisons (29–33 vs 33–36 Mg/ha; 19 vs 21 g/kg). Nutrients: Less nitrogen was found in soils with wheat-bean rotations, in two of three comparisons (1–1.1 vs 1.3–1.4 g/kg). Soil organisms: More microbial biomass (measured as carbon) was found in soils with wheat-bean rotations, in two of three comparisons (293–509 vs 208–330 mg C/kg). Greenhouse gases: More carbon was emitted from plots with wheat-bean rotations, compared to continuous wheat (carbon output, in one of three comparisons: 3.1 vs 2.4 Mg C/ha/year; soil respiration: 17–22 vs 14–19 mg C/kg/day). Methods: Durum wheat Triticum durum was grown continuously or in a two-year rotation with faba beans Vicia faba on four plots each (18.5 x 20 m plots). Fertilizer and herbicide were used on all plots (half were tilled, and half were not). Soil samples were collected after harvest, in June 2009 (three samples/plot, 0–15 cm depth). Carbon dioxide was measured on 36 days in April 2008–April 2009 (closed chambers, 12 measurements/plot, 9–11 am).

 

Soil: Use no tillage in arable fields Mediterranean Farmland

A replicated, controlled study in 1991–2010 in a rainfed durum wheat field in Sicily, Italy, found more microbial biomass and carbon dioxide in soils with no tillage, compared to conventional tillage. Organic matter: Similar amounts of organic carbon were found in soils with no tillage or conventional tillage (20–21 vs 19–21 g C/kg soil). Nutrients: Similar amounts of nitrogen were found in soils with no tillage or conventional tillage (1.1–1.3 vs 1–1.4 g total N/kg soil). Soil microbial biomass: More microbial biomass (measured as carbon) was found in soils with no tillage, compared to conventional tillage (330–509 vs 208–293 mg C/kg soil). Greenhouse gases: More carbon dioxide was found in soils with no tillage, compared to conventional tillage (19–22 vs 14–17 mg C/kg soil/day). Methods: No tillage or conventional tillage was used on four plots each (18.5 × 20 m plots), with either wheat-faba bean or wheat-wheat rotations. Fertilizer and herbicide were used on all plots. Ploughing (30 cm depth) and harrowing (1–2 passes, 10–15 cm depth) were used for conventional tillage. Soil samples were collected after the harvest, in June 2009 (three samples/plot, 0–15 cm depth). Carbon dioxide was measured on 36 days in April 2008–April 2009 (closed chambers, 12 measurements/plot, 9–11 am).