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Individual study: Design of riparian buffer strips affects soil quality parameters

Published source details

Cardinali A., Carletti P., Nardi S. & Zanin G. (2014) Design of riparian buffer strips affects soil quality parameters. Applied Soil Ecology, 80, 67-76


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Soil: Plant buffer strips Mediterranean Farmland

A replicated, randomized, controlled study in (1997–2010) in a maize field in the Po Valley, Italy, found more organic matter, nitrogen, and microbial biomass in buffered plots, compared to unbuffered plots. Organic matter: More organic matter was found in buffered plots, in seven of eight comparisons (0.25–0.35% vs 0.22%). Nutrients: More nitrogen was found in buffered plots, in seven of eight comparisons (0.13–0.14% vs 0.1%). Soil organisms: More microbial biomass (measured as carbon) was found in buffered plots, in six of eight comparisons (316–566 vs 257 mg/kg dry soil), and more microbial biomass (measured as nitrogen) was found in two of eight comparisons (40–47 vs 27 mg/kg dry soil). Implementation options: More organic matter was found in plots with 3 m buffers, compared to 6 m buffers (0.30–0.34% vs 0.25–0.27%). Similar soil nitrogen was found in plots with 3 m buffers and 6 m buffers (1%). Less microbial biomass (measured as carbon) was found in plots with 3 m buffers, compared to 6 m buffers, in one of two comparisons (450 vs 541 mg/kg dry soil), but more was found in one of two comparisons (391 vs 327 mg). Less microbial biomass (measured as nitrogen) was found in plots with 3 m buffers, in one of two comparisons (33 vs 40 mg/kg dry soil). Similar amounts of organic matter were found in plots that had buffers with one or two tree rows (0.20–0.28%). More nitrogen was found in plots that had buffers with one tree row, compared to two, in one of two comparisons (0.14% vs 0.12%). Similar amounts of microbial biomass (measured as carbon) were found in plots that had buffers with one or two tree rows (316–565 mg/kg dry soil). More microbial biomass (measured as nitrogen) was found in plots that had buffers with one tree row, compared to two, in one of two comparisons (40 vs 34 mg/kg dry soil). Methods: Maize plots had grass buffers (3 m grass: tall fescue Festuca arudinacea), grass and woody buffers (3 m grass with one tree row; 6 m grass with one tree row; 6 m grass with two tree rows), or no buffers (two replicates of each plot). Trees included guelder-rose Viburnum opulus and London sycamore Platanus hybrida. Plots were ploughed (35–40 cm depth) and harrowed before sowing crops. Fertilizers were applied (April: 400 kg/ha of NPK; May: 450 kg/ha of urea). Grass buffers were mown twice a year in growing season (residues were not removed) and tree offshoots were removed. Trees were coppiced in 2003 and 2010. Soil samples were taken (0–15 cm) in April and October 2010.

 

Water: Plant buffer strips Mediterranean Farmland

A replicated, randomized, controlled study in 1997–2010 in arable farmland in the Po Valley, Italy, found more soil moisture in plots with buffers, compared to plots without buffers. Water availability: Soil moisture was higher in buffered plots, compared to unbuffered plots, in two of eight comparisons (20% vs 19%). Implementation options: Soil moisture was higher in plots with 3 m buffers, compared to 6 m buffers, in one of two comparisons (20% vs 18%). Methods: Maize plots had grass buffers (3 m grass: tall fescue Festuca arudinacea), grass and woody buffers (3 m grass with one tree row; 6 m grass with one tree row; 6 m grass with two tree rows), or no buffers (two replicates of each plot). Trees included guelder-rose Viburnum opulus and London sycamore Platanus hybrida. Plots were ploughed (35–40 cm depth) and harrowed before sowing crops. Fertilizers were applied (April: 400 kg/ha of NPK; May: 450 kg/ha of urea). Grass buffers were mown twice a year in growing season (residues were not removed) and tree offshoots were removed. Trees were coppiced in 2003 and 2010. Soil samples were taken (0–15 cm) in April and October 2010.