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: Conservation tillage: Short- and long-term effects on soil carbon fractions and enzymatic activities under Mediterranean conditions

Published source details

Melero S., López-Garrido R., Murillo J.M. & Moreno F. (2009) Conservation tillage: Short- and long-term effects on soil carbon fractions and enzymatic activities under Mediterranean conditions. Soil and Tillage Research, 104, 292-298


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 no tillage in arable fields Mediterranean Farmland

A replicated, randomized, controlled study in 2005–2008 on two rainfed wheat-sunflower-pea fields near Seville, Spain (same study as (15)), found similar amounts of microbial biomass in soils with no tillage or conventional tillage. Soil organisms: Similar amounts of microbial biomass (measured as carbon) were found in soils with no tillage or conventional tillage (291–791 vs 127–472 mg C/kg soil). Methods: No tillage or conventional tillage was used on three plots each (200 m2 each). A mouldboard plough (25–30 cm depth), a cultivator (15–20 cm, 2–3 passes), and a disk harrow (15 cm) were used on plots with conventional tillage. Herbicides and a seed drill were used on plots with no tillage. Wheat, sunflowers, and peas were grown in rotation. Wheat was fertilized, but sunflowers and peas were not. Soil samples were collected in March and July 2008 (three samples/plot, 0–20 cm depth).

 

Soil: Use reduced tillage in arable fields Mediterranean Farmland

A replicated, randomized, controlled study in 1991–2008 on a rainfed wheat-sunflower-pea field near Seville, Spain (same study as (17)), found more soil organisms in plots with reduced tillage, compared  to conventional tillage. Soil organisms: More microbial biomass (measured as carbon) was found in soils with reduced tillage, compared to conventional tillage, in three of six comparisons (654–1,058 vs 806–814 mg C/kg soil). Methods: Reduced tillage or conventional tillage was used on three plots each (22 x 14 m), in 1991–2008. A chisel plough (25–30 cm depth, every two years) and a disc harrow (5–7 cm depth, every year) were used for reduced tillage. A mouldboard plough (25–30 cm depth), a cultivator (15–20 cm, 2–3 passes), and a disc harrow (15 cm) were used for conventional tillage (every year). Wheat, sunflowers, and peas were grown in rotation. Wheat was fertilized, but sunflowers and peas were not. In 1991–2003, crop residues were burned on plots with conventional tillage. Crop residues were retained and herbicides were used on plots with reduced tillage. Soil samples were collected in March and July 2008 (three samples/plot, 0–20 cm depth).