Long-Term Effect of Manure and Fertilizer on Soil Organic Carbon Pools in Dryland Farming in Northwest China

Liu, Enke; Yan, Changrong; Mei, Xurong; Zhang, Yanqing; Fan, Tinglu
February 2013
PLoS ONE;Feb2013, Vol. 8 Issue 2, p1
Academic Journal
An understanding of the dynamics of soil organic carbon (SOC) as affected by farming practices is imperative for maintaining soil productivity and mitigating global warming. The objectives of this study were to investigate the effects of long-term fertilization on SOC and SOC fractions for the whole soil profile (0–100 cm) in northwest China. The study was initiated in 1979 in Gansu, China and included six treatments: unfertilized control (CK), nitrogen fertilizer (N), nitrogen and phosphorus (P) fertilizers (NP), straw plus N and P fertilizers (NP+S), farmyard manure (FYM), and farmyard manure plus N and P fertilizers (NP+FYM). Results showed that SOC concentration in the 0–20 cm soil layer increased with time except in the CK and N treatments. Long-term fertilization significantly influenced SOC concentrations and storage to 60 cm depth. Below 60 cm, SOC concentrations and storages were statistically not significant between all treatments. The concentration of SOC at different depths in 0–60 cm soil profile was higher under NP+FYM follow by under NP+S, compared to under CK. The SOC storage in 0–60 cm in NP+FYM, NP+S, FYM and NP treatments were increased by 41.3%, 32.9%, 28.1% and 17.9%, respectively, as compared to the CK treatment. Organic manure plus inorganic fertilizer application also increased labile soil organic carbon pools in 0–60 cm depth. The average concentration of particulate organic carbon (POC), dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and microbial biomass carbon (MBC) in organic manure plus inorganic fertilizer treatments (NP+S and NP+FYM) in 0–60 cm depth were increased by 64.9–91.9%, 42.5–56.9%, and 74.7–99.4%, respectively, over the CK treatment. The POC, MBC and DOC concentrations increased linearly with increasing SOC content. These results indicate that long-term additions of organic manure have the most beneficial effects in building carbon pools among the investigated types of fertilization.


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