Buildup of soil organic carbon and stable aggregates under conservation tillage in loess dryland soil

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Research Paper 01/01/2015
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Buildup of soil organic carbon and stable aggregates under conservation tillage in loess dryland soil

Muhammad Sharif, Shahzada Sohail Ijaz, Safdar Ali, Muhammad Ansar, Asma Hassan
J. Bio. Env. Sci.6( 1), 446-453, January 2015.
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The identification of sensitive soil organic carbon (SOC) fractions can be crucial for an understanding of SOC dynamics and stabilization in soil. This study was conducted during 2012-14 in fallow-wheat cropping system at loess dryland Pothwar, Pakistan to assess the effect of minimum tillage (MT), reduced tillage (RT), zero tillage (ZT) and conventional tillage (CT), with residue retuned (R+) and removed (R) on SOC fractions and aggregate stability. The results showed that the ZT with residue returned provided the highest amount of SOC (7.80g kg-1), microbial biomass carbon (MBC, 473 µg kg-1), particulate organic carbon (POC, 2.27 g kg-1) and water stable aggregates (WSA, 36%). On the other hand, CT with residue removed gave the least amounts of SOC (5.35 g kg-1), MBC (130 µg kg-1), POC (1.25 g kg-1) and aggregate stability (24%). The trend among tillage treatments was ZT > RT > MT > CT for studied parameters. Among residue treatments, residue return (+R) had higher SOC content and aggregate stability than residue removed (-R). These results clearly demonstrate that ZT and RT with residue returned are potential alternatives to conventional tillage for enhancing soil organic carbon and structural stability in loess dryland soils.


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