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Soil Syst., Volume 7, Issue 1 (March 2023) – 29 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): More than half a megaton of microplastics and nanoplastics (MNPs) enter farmland soil systems annually. Agricultural practices such as addition of biosolids are the principal causes of soil contamination by MNPs. MNPs exhibit negative, positive or no effects on soil properties and biota in agroecosystems. Such discrepancies could be due to variations in the methods followed for sampling, detection, quantification, categorization of particles, abundance, and exposure time of MNPs. Migration and transformation of MNPs, their transfer along with other pollutants, and the additives present in the MNPs are likely to threaten the terrestrial food webs. Stringent guidelines for control of MNP entry into agricultural soils are unavailable, which could be due to a lack of adequate information on classification, release, and health effects of MNPs. View this paper
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23 pages, 2081 KiB  
Review
Soil as an Environmental Reservoir for Baculoviruses: Persistence, Dispersal and Role in Pest Control
by Trevor Williams
Soil Syst. 2023, 7(1), 29; https://doi.org/10.3390/soilsystems7010029 - 22 Mar 2023
Viewed by 3113
Abstract
Baculoviruses are DNA viruses that can naturally control insects and form the basis for a range of biological insecticides. These viruses are occluded in a crystalline protein matrix, the occlusion body (OB), which favors their persistence in the environment until consumed by a [...] Read more.
Baculoviruses are DNA viruses that can naturally control insects and form the basis for a range of biological insecticides. These viruses are occluded in a crystalline protein matrix, the occlusion body (OB), which favors their persistence in the environment until consumed by a susceptible insect. This review presents evidence that baculoviruses are perfectly adapted to persist in soil. In support of this assertion, detailed evidence is presented concerning the stability of virus OBs in soil, the mechanisms and processes that affect OB transport to soil, OB persistence and movement through the soil layers, and the transport of the virus back to the host’s foodplant for subsequent transmission. The soil reservoir interacts with the host insect, the foodplant and the biotic and abiotic factors in the environment, all of which influence the function of the soil OB reservoir. Agricultural practices that conserve the soil reservoir can result in improved pest control. The soil is also an overlooked source of genetic diversity for the design of baculovirus-based insecticides. Finally, the principal issues that remain to be elucidated are highlighted, particularly with reference to those that affect the soil–baculovirus relationship and the impact of the soil OB reservoir on insect populations. Full article
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14 pages, 6795 KiB  
Article
Urban Soil Pollution by Heavy Metals: Effect of the Lockdown during the Period of COVID-19 on Pollutant Levels over a Five-Year Study
by Sotiria G. Papadimou, Ourania-Despoina Kantzou, Maria-Anna Chartodiplomenou and Evangelia E. Golia
Soil Syst. 2023, 7(1), 28; https://doi.org/10.3390/soilsystems7010028 - 20 Mar 2023
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 2183
Abstract
When residents of Volos, a city in central Greece, are trying to recall their daily life after the end of the quarantine due to COVID-19, the soil pollution survey provided valuable insights, which are compared with a 4-year study carried out in that [...] Read more.
When residents of Volos, a city in central Greece, are trying to recall their daily life after the end of the quarantine due to COVID-19, the soil pollution survey provided valuable insights, which are compared with a 4-year study carried out in that area before the pandemic period. Using appropriate indices, namely contamination factor (CF), pollution load index (PLI), geo-accumulation index (Igeo), ecological risk factor (Er), and potential ecological risk index (RI), and using geostatistical tools, maps were constructed for each metal (Cu, Zn, Pb, Ni, Cd, Co, Cr, Mn). Variations in the values of the contamination indices showed a significant redistribution in pollutant load from areas previously polluted by high vehicle traffic and the activities of the main port to the residential areas, where the habitants have their homes and playgrounds. The study showed that Cu, Zn, Pb, and Co concentrations increased during the pandemic period by 10%, 22.7%, 3.7%, and 23.1%, respectively. Ni’s concentration remained almost constant, while Cd, Cr, and Mn concentrations were decreased by 21.6%, 22.2%, and 9.5%, respectively. Fluctuations in the concentrations and corresponding contamination and ecological indices of the elements can serve as a means for highlighting potential sources of pollution. Therefore, although the pandemic period created anxiety, stress, and economic hardship for citizens, it may prove to be a valuable tool for investigating the sources of pollution in urban soils. The study of these results could potentially lead to optimal ways for managing the environmental crisis and solve persistent problems that pose risks to both the soil environment and human health. Full article
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19 pages, 4254 KiB  
Article
Optimizing Sampling Strategies for Near-Surface Soil Carbon Inventory: One Size Doesn’t Fit All
by Charles Bettigole, Juliana Hanle, Daniel A. Kane, Zoe Pagliaro, Shaylan Kolodney, Sylvana Szuhay, Miles Chandler, Eli Hersh, Stephen A. Wood, Bruno Basso, Douglas Jeffrey Goodwin, Shane Hardy, Zachary Wolf and Kristofer R. Covey
Soil Syst. 2023, 7(1), 27; https://doi.org/10.3390/soilsystems7010027 - 17 Mar 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 3135
Abstract
Soils comprise the largest pool of terrestrial carbon yet have lost significant stocks due to human activity. Changes to land management in cropland and grazing systems present opportunities to sequester carbon in soils at large scales. Uncertainty in the magnitude of this potential [...] Read more.
Soils comprise the largest pool of terrestrial carbon yet have lost significant stocks due to human activity. Changes to land management in cropland and grazing systems present opportunities to sequester carbon in soils at large scales. Uncertainty in the magnitude of this potential impact is largely driven by the difficulties and costs associated with measuring near-surface (0–30 cm) soil carbon concentrations; a key component of soil carbon stock assessments. Many techniques exist to optimize sampling, yet few studies have compared these techniques at varying sample intensities. In this study, we performed ex-ante, high-intensity sampling for soil carbon concentrations at four farms in the eastern United States. We used post hoc Monte-Carlo bootstrapping to investigate the most efficient sampling approaches for soil carbon inventory: K-means stratification, Conditioned Latin Hypercube Sampling (cLHS), simple random, and regular grid. No two study sites displayed similar patterns across all sampling techniques, although cLHS and grid emerged as the most efficient sampling schemes across all sites and strata sizes. The number of strata chosen when using K-means stratification can have a significant impact on sample efficiency, and we caution future inventories from using small strata n, while avoiding even allocation of sample between strata. Our findings reinforce the need for adaptive sampling methodologies where initial site inventory can inform primary, robust inventory with site-specific sampling techniques. Full article
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16 pages, 1929 KiB  
Article
Silica and Biochar Amendments Improve Cucumber Growth under Saline Conditions
by Manar Al-Toobi, Rhonda R. Janke, Muhammad Mumtaz Khan, Mushtaque Ahmed, Waleed M. Al-Busaidi and Abdul Rehman
Soil Syst. 2023, 7(1), 26; https://doi.org/10.3390/soilsystems7010026 - 12 Mar 2023
Viewed by 1865
Abstract
Rapidly increasing salinization of arable land is a major threat to crop production globally, and the soil of regions with arid environments, such as Oman, are more prone to this menace. In this work, two complementary studies were carried out to evaluate the [...] Read more.
Rapidly increasing salinization of arable land is a major threat to crop production globally, and the soil of regions with arid environments, such as Oman, are more prone to this menace. In this work, two complementary studies were carried out to evaluate the effect of soil amendments on soil physicochemical properties and growth of cucumber seedlings. In the first study, high- and low-saline soils were used with or without perlite. The amendments tested included mango wood biochar, silica, and biochar + silica, while no amendment was taken as the control. The second study included two cucumber cultivars and irrigation water with two salinity treatments, along with the same four soil amendments. The results showed that soil amendment with biochar alone or with silica enhanced the soil organic matter and NO3, P, and K concentration, while silica amendment substantially enhanced the soil Si level in both studies. Saline soil and irrigation water inhibited seedling emergence and plant growth in both experiments. However, the addition of biochar and silica alone or in combination increased the cucumber seedling dry weight from 39.5 to 77.3% under salt stress compared to the control. Likewise, silica and biochar + silica reduced the sap Na accumulation by 29–31.1% under high salinity. Application of biochar under high salinity resulted in 87.2% increase in sap K. Soil amendments with biochar and silica or their combination have the potential to reduce the adverse effect of salt stress on cucumber. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Research on Soil Management and Conservation)
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45 pages, 25048 KiB  
Article
The Sedimentary Context of Open-Air Archaeology: A Case Study in the Western Cape’s Doring River Valley, South Africa
by Natasha Phillips, Ian Moffat, Alex Mackay and Brian G. Jones
Soil Syst. 2023, 7(1), 25; https://doi.org/10.3390/soilsystems7010025 - 10 Mar 2023
Viewed by 4064
Abstract
Despite the wealth of Late Pleistocene archaeology that exists across southern Africa’s open landscape, it is routinely neglected in favour of rock shelter (re)excavation, biasing interpretation of human–environment interaction. This is compounded by the scarcity of open-air studies that use geoarchaeological methods to [...] Read more.
Despite the wealth of Late Pleistocene archaeology that exists across southern Africa’s open landscape, it is routinely neglected in favour of rock shelter (re)excavation, biasing interpretation of human–environment interaction. This is compounded by the scarcity of open-air studies that use geoarchaeological methods to investigate the history and processes involved in their formation. The open-air archaeology of the Doring River Valley is an example of this, despite nearly a decade of dedicated study and publication. Consequently, there remains a limited and untested understanding of the valley’s formation history. This paper rectifies this by providing a sedimentary context for the surface archaeology exposed across one of the Doring River Valley’s artefact-baring localities, Uitspankraal 7 (UPK7). Characterisation, particle size, mineralogical, morphometric, and geophysical analysis of UPK7′s sand mantle resulted in the identification of four artefact-bearing sedimentary units, the aeolian and pedogenic processes involved in their formation, and their proposed order of deposition. This provides a stratigraphic, taphonomic, and environmental context against which chronometric dating and an analysis of the taphonomic, spatio-temporal, and technological composition of UPK7′s surface archaeology can be compared. This work is the first vital step towards understanding the depositional and behavioural history of a landscape, irrespective of context type. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soils in Archaeological Research)
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34 pages, 11451 KiB  
Article
Selenium Uptake from Livestock Pasture Extremely Enriched in Selenium, Molybdenum and Uranium: A Field and X-ray Absorption Study
by Shauna L. McLoughlin, Richard A. D. Pattrick, J. Frederick W. Mosselmans, Joe Kelleher and Bart E. van Dongen
Soil Syst. 2023, 7(1), 24; https://doi.org/10.3390/soilsystems7010024 - 10 Mar 2023
Viewed by 1984
Abstract
The agricultural soils of West Limerick, Ireland, contain very localised, extremely high natural Se concentrations that reach levels that are very toxic to grazing livestock. The Carboniferous shales that formed in anoxic deep-water marine environments are the source of the selenium, which, along [...] Read more.
The agricultural soils of West Limerick, Ireland, contain very localised, extremely high natural Se concentrations that reach levels that are very toxic to grazing livestock. The Carboniferous shales that formed in anoxic deep-water marine environments are the source of the selenium, which, along with the other redox-sensitive elements of molybdenum, uranium, arsenic and vanadium, were mobilised and reprecipitated in post-glacial anoxic marshes. The result has been a history of selenosis and molybdenosis in livestock in this important dairy province. Soils collected at 10–20 cm from five different agricultural sites were analysed, and all yielded concentrations greatly in excess of the safe Se limits of 3–10 mg kg−1; the highest value recorded was 1265.8 mg kg−1 Se. The highest recorded value for Mo in these soils was 1627.5 mg kg−1, and for U, 658.8 mg kg−1. There was a positive correlation between Se, Mo U and organic matter in the soils. Analysis of non-accumulator pasture grasses (Lolium perenne (perennial ryegrass), Festuca arundinacea (tall fescue), Dactylis glomerata (cocksfoot) and Phleum pretense (timothy grass)) revealed the shoot/leaf to contain up to 78.05 mg kg−1 Se while Trifolium repens (white clover) leaves contained 296.15 mg kg−1 Se. An in situ growing experiment using the Se accumulator species Brassica oleracea revealed 971.2 mg kg−1 Se in the leaves of premier kale, which also contained 1000.4 mg kg−1 Mo. Translocation factors (TFs) were generally higher for Mo than Se across all plant species. Combined X-ray absorption near edge spectroscopy (XANES) with micro-X-ray fluorescence (μ-XRF) showed the Se was present in the soil predominantly as the reduced immobile phase, elemental Se (Se0), but also as bioavailable organoselenium species, mainly selenomethionine (SeMet). SeMet was also the main species identified within both the Se non-accumulator and Se accumulator plants. The Se soil–plant system in West Limerick is dominated by SeMet, and uptake into the cattle pasture results in selenosis in the grazing dairy herds. The hyperaccumulating Brassica oleracea species could be used to extract both the Se and Mo to reduce the toxicity of the blighted fields. Full article
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26 pages, 9563 KiB  
Article
Soil Microbial Responses to Aflatoxin Exposure: Consequences for Biomass, Activity and Catabolic Functionality
by Julius Albert, Camilla More, Sven Korz and Katherine Muñoz
Soil Syst. 2023, 7(1), 23; https://doi.org/10.3390/soilsystems7010023 - 09 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1619
Abstract
Aflatoxins (AFs) are fungal secondary metabolites frequently detected in soil that exhibit in vitro toxicity to certain soil microorganisms. However, microbial responses at different levels and in complex systems such as the soil environment have not been systematically studied. Therefore, we investigated multiple [...] Read more.
Aflatoxins (AFs) are fungal secondary metabolites frequently detected in soil that exhibit in vitro toxicity to certain soil microorganisms. However, microbial responses at different levels and in complex systems such as the soil environment have not been systematically studied. Therefore, we investigated multiple microbial responses in two different soils (sandy loam and clay) to aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) at environmentally relevant concentrations (0.5–500 µg kg−1) during a 28-day incubation. General microbial parameters for biomass (microbial biomass carbon and ergosterol), activity (glucose-induced and basal respiration), and catabolic functionality (substrate utilization patterns) were assessed. We observed minor and transient effects in both soils. In sandy loam, we found negative effects on activity and catabolic functionality with increased metabolic quotient, while clay soil exhibited stimulation for the same parameters, suggesting a hormetic effect due to reduced bioavailability through sorption onto clay minerals. Our results indicate that AFB1 does not pose a threat to general microbial indicators under the test conditions in soils without previous AF contamination. Given the toxic potential of AFs to specific microorganisms, further studies should investigate responses at higher taxonomic and functional levels in natural environments of aflatoxigenic fungi, such as tropical soils, and including additional physicochemical stressors. Full article
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17 pages, 2797 KiB  
Review
Soil Health Assessment and Management Framework for Water-Limited Environments: Examples from the Great Plains of the USA
by Rajan Ghimire, Vesh R. Thapa, Veronica Acosta-Martinez, Meagan Schipanski, Lindsey C. Slaughter, Steven J. Fonte, Manoj K. Shukla, Prakriti Bista, Sangamesh V. Angadi, Maysoon M. Mikha, Olufemi Adebayo and Tess Noble Strohm
Soil Syst. 2023, 7(1), 22; https://doi.org/10.3390/soilsystems7010022 - 02 Mar 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 3145
Abstract
Healthy soils provide the foundation for sustainable agriculture. However, soil health degradation has been a significant challenge for agricultural sustainability and environmental quality in water-limited environments, such as arid and semi-arid regions. Soils in these regions is often characterized by low soil organic [...] Read more.
Healthy soils provide the foundation for sustainable agriculture. However, soil health degradation has been a significant challenge for agricultural sustainability and environmental quality in water-limited environments, such as arid and semi-arid regions. Soils in these regions is often characterized by low soil organic matter (SOM), poor fertility, and low overall productivity, thus limiting the ability to build SOM. Soil health assessment frameworks developed for more productive, humid, temperate environments typically emphasize building SOM as a key to soil health and have identified the best management practices that are often difficult to implement in regions with water limitations. This study reviewed existing soil health assessment frameworks to assess their potential relevance for water-limited environments and highlights the need to develop a framework that links soil health with key ecosystem functions in dry climates. It also discusses management strategies for improving soil health, including tillage and residue management, organic amendments, and cropping system diversification and intensification. The assessment of indicators sensitive to water management practices could provide valuable information in designing soil health assessment frameworks for arid and semi-arid regions. The responses of soil health indicators are generally greater when multiple complementary soil health management practices are integrated, leading to the resilience and sustainability of agriculture in water-limited environments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Research on Soil Management and Conservation)
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18 pages, 4549 KiB  
Article
Toward Soil Nutrient Security for Improved Agronomic Performance and Increased Resilience of Taro Production Systems in Samoa
by Diogenes L. Antille, Ben C. T. Macdonald, Aleni Uelese, Michael J. Webb, Jennifer Kelly, Seuseu Tauati, Uta Stockmann, Jeda Palmer and James R. F. Barringer
Soil Syst. 2023, 7(1), 21; https://doi.org/10.3390/soilsystems7010021 - 02 Mar 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2306
Abstract
A progressive decline in soil fertility in taro (Colocasia esculenta L., Schott) production systems has contributed to reduced crop productivity and farm profitability, and is recognized to be a threat to soil nutrient and food security in Samoa. Evidence based on three [...] Read more.
A progressive decline in soil fertility in taro (Colocasia esculenta L., Schott) production systems has contributed to reduced crop productivity and farm profitability, and is recognized to be a threat to soil nutrient and food security in Samoa. Evidence based on three years of field experimentation showed that appropriate nutrient budgeting is required to reduce soil nutrient deficits and mitigate soil organic carbon loss. Balanced crop nutrition coupled with appropriate crop husbandry can significantly improve productivity and narrow yield gaps. A framework to guide nutrient recommendations for taro production systems is presented and discussed. This framework proposes that recommendations for N be derived from the yield-to-N response function (from which the most economic rate of N can be estimated) and that for other nutrients, namely P, K, Ca, and Mg, recommendations be based on replacement. The replacement strategy requires the development of soil nutrient indexes, which can be used to define the long-term nutrient management policy at the field scale. This long-term policy is informed by soil analyses, and it will determine whether existing soil nutrient levels are to be maintained or increased depending on the focus (productivity, profitability, environmental protection). If soil nutrients were already at an agronomically satisfactory level, their application may be omitted in some years to help reduce crop production costs, improve use efficiency, and ensure environmentally safe levels in soil are not exceeded. Full article
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13 pages, 3017 KiB  
Article
Comparison between an Innovative Solarization System and Dazomet-Based Fumigation
by Massimo Rippa, Changrong Yan, Qin Liu, Elia Tucci and Pasquale Mormile
Soil Syst. 2023, 7(1), 20; https://doi.org/10.3390/soilsystems7010020 - 24 Feb 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1408
Abstract
An innovative soil solarization system based on biochar was recently proposed. The difference with traditional solarization lies in the use, after soil irrigation, of a biodegradable black liquid sprayed on the soil surface in order to obtain a black body capable of drastically [...] Read more.
An innovative soil solarization system based on biochar was recently proposed. The difference with traditional solarization lies in the use, after soil irrigation, of a biodegradable black liquid sprayed on the soil surface in order to obtain a black body capable of drastically increasing the absorption of incident radiation and, as a consequence, increasing temperatures at different depths. Due to these higher temperatures, it is possible to eliminate pathogens in shorter times than with traditional solarization. In recent years, this practice has been tested in various contexts by comparing traditional solarization with this innovative new practice through temperature measurement at different soil depths for two months. The experimental data confirm the validity of this new approach for soil treatment: higher temperatures were registered with the innovative system, up to 10 °C more than the traditional method. In this work, we report a comparison between the new solarization system and a fumigation method. Our experimental results demonstrate that it is possible to obtain a satisfying soil treatment with a natural and sustainable practice based on solar energy, overcoming the major limitation of traditional solarization: application time. The black layer on the soil allows for the attainment of temperatures as high as necessary to eliminate most pathogens in a shorter time (just 30 days) than traditional solarization (2 months). Full article
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29 pages, 4909 KiB  
Review
Do Microplastics and Nanoplastics Pose Risks to Biota in Agricultural Ecosystems?
by Naga Raju Maddela, Balasubramanian Ramakrishnan, Tanvi Kadiyala, Kadiyala Venkateswarlu and Mallavarapu Megharaj
Soil Syst. 2023, 7(1), 19; https://doi.org/10.3390/soilsystems7010019 - 24 Feb 2023
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 3351
Abstract
The presence of microplastics and nanoplastics (MNPs) in soils is becoming pervasive in most agroecosystems. The recent estimates suggest that the soil burden of MNPs in the agroecosystems is more than 0.5 megatons (Mt) annually. In all the agroecosystems, the transformation, migration, and [...] Read more.
The presence of microplastics and nanoplastics (MNPs) in soils is becoming pervasive in most agroecosystems. The recent estimates suggest that the soil burden of MNPs in the agroecosystems is more than 0.5 megatons (Mt) annually. In all the agroecosystems, the transformation, migration, and transferring of MNPs, along with other contaminants, and the trophic transfer of MNPs can threaten the food web. MPs can exhibit negative and positive effects, or none, on the physical/chemical properties of soil, soil microbiota, invertebrates, and plant systems, depending on the polymer compositions, additives, and exposure time. Difficulties in comparing the studies on the effects of MNPs, as well as the discrepancies among them, are mostly due to variations in the methods followed for sampling, detection, quantification, and the categorization of particles, abundance, and exposure time. Since agricultural soils are important environmental reservoirs for diverse chemicals and contaminants, they provide milieus for several types of interactions of MNPs with soil biota. The present review critically examines the sources and transformation of MNPs in agricultural soils, the release and fate of additives, as well as their role as vectors of other potential contaminants and influence on soil physical/chemical properties, toxicities to soil biota (i.e., microorganisms, invertebrates, and plants), current regulatory guidelines for the mitigation of MNPs, and future research directions. Full article
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18 pages, 4196 KiB  
Article
Chemical Composition of Tissues of Syringa vulgaris L. and Soil Features in Abandoned Cemeteries
by Oimahmad Rahmonov, Leszek Majgier and Małgorzata Rahmonov
Soil Syst. 2023, 7(1), 18; https://doi.org/10.3390/soilsystems7010018 - 23 Feb 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1283
Abstract
Abandoned anthropogenic sites are transformed when they come into use. In the present study, such objects were abandoned Evangelical cemeteries located in the Land of the Great Mazurian Lakes (northern Poland). This study aims to compare the concentrations of selected major (Ca, Na, [...] Read more.
Abandoned anthropogenic sites are transformed when they come into use. In the present study, such objects were abandoned Evangelical cemeteries located in the Land of the Great Mazurian Lakes (northern Poland). This study aims to compare the concentrations of selected major (Ca, Na, Mg, Al, Fe) and potentially toxic elements (Zn, Cd, Pb) in the roots, leaves, and branches of Syringa vulgaris and buried necrosols and unburied soils in which this species grows. The soils analysed differ in their profile structure; in the case of burial necrosols, anthropogenic layers are present, while Brunic Arenosol has a natural horizon arrangement. Regarding pH, the soils analysed are characterised in the weakly acidic (6.6–6.8) to alkaline (7.2–8.6) range, both in KCl and H2O. Total phosphorus has high values in the humus and anthropogenic horizons, especially at coffin sites (Rudówka Mała: layer of Ccoffin—759 mg∙kg−1; Szymonka—844 mg∙kg−1). Necrosols are characterised by a slightly higher variation in major element content than soils outside the burial area. The highest elemental content in Syringa vulgaris is accumulated in leaves and roots. Potassium (K) has the highest content in the studied tissues, and cadmium (Cd) is the lowest. The study showed no significant differences in heavy metal accumulation for plants directly associated with necrosols and soils formed outside of burials, which is confirmed by analyses of environmental indicators. The study showed that plant chemistry is more influenced by the soil substrate and soil-forming process than the soil anthropogenisation associated with burials. There was no significant effect of burials on the chemical composition of individual parts of Syringa vulgaris. Full article
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34 pages, 2167 KiB  
Review
Conservation Agriculture and Soil Organic Carbon: Principles, Processes, Practices and Policy Options
by Rosa Francaviglia, María Almagro and José Luis Vicente-Vicente
Soil Syst. 2023, 7(1), 17; https://doi.org/10.3390/soilsystems7010017 - 22 Feb 2023
Cited by 25 | Viewed by 7907
Abstract
Intensive agriculture causes land degradation and other environmental problems, such as pollution, soil erosion, fertility loss, biodiversity decline, and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, which exacerbate climate change. Sustainable agricultural practices, such as reduced tillage, growing cover crops, and implementing crop residue retention measures, [...] Read more.
Intensive agriculture causes land degradation and other environmental problems, such as pollution, soil erosion, fertility loss, biodiversity decline, and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, which exacerbate climate change. Sustainable agricultural practices, such as reduced tillage, growing cover crops, and implementing crop residue retention measures, have been proposed as cost-effective solutions that can address land degradation, food security, and climate change mitigation and adaptation by enhancing soil organic carbon (SOC) sequestration in soils and its associated co-benefits. In this regard, extensive research has demonstrated that conservation agriculture (CA) improves soil physical, chemical, and biological properties that are crucial for maintaining soil health and increasing agroecosystem resilience to global change. However, despite the research that has been undertaken to implement the three principles of CA (minimum mechanical soil disturbance, permanent soil organic cover with crop residues and/or cover crops, and crop diversification) worldwide, there are still many technical and socio-economic barriers that restrict their adoption. In this review, we gather current knowledge on the potential agronomic, environmental, and socio-economic benefits and drawbacks of implementing CA principles and present the current agro-environmental policy frameworks. Research needs are identified, and more stringent policy measures are urgently encouraged to achieve climate change mitigation targets. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Research on Soil Management and Conservation)
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14 pages, 2831 KiB  
Article
Study of Potentially Toxic Metal Adsorption in a Polluted Acid and Alkaline Soil: Influence of Soil Properties and Levels of Metal Concentration
by Evangelia E. Golia, Ourania-Despoina Kantzou, Maria-Anna Chartodiplomenou, Sotiria G. Papadimou and Nikolaos G. Tsiropoulos
Soil Syst. 2023, 7(1), 16; https://doi.org/10.3390/soilsystems7010016 - 10 Feb 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1749
Abstract
In the present study, the adsorption of zinc (Zn), lead (Pb), copper (Cu), and cadmium (Cd) was studied in two already polluted urban soil samples with different pH values, an acidic and an alkaline one. The Langmuir and Freundlich adsorption isotherm equations were [...] Read more.
In the present study, the adsorption of zinc (Zn), lead (Pb), copper (Cu), and cadmium (Cd) was studied in two already polluted urban soil samples with different pH values, an acidic and an alkaline one. The Langmuir and Freundlich adsorption isotherm equations were used to thoroughly study the adsorption of the metallic elements on the solid surface of the soils. Langmuir equation described the adsorption of each metal satisfactorily, with a slight predominance over Freundlich, in both soils, as the R2 value approached almost unity. Even though Zn and Cu were adsorbed on the soil phase, their adsorption was minimal compared to the adsorption of more harmful metals such as Pb and Cd. Using the values of the coefficients obtained from the equations of the mathematical models, we concluded that in alkaline soils, the retention of metals was much greater than in acidic soils. The simultaneous presence of metals during the addition of the single-element solutions of the metals to the already metal-contaminated soils caused competitive adsorption increasing the retention of the more toxic metals on the solid surface of the alkaline soil. Factors affecting soil sorption (such as soil pH and CaCO3 content) were studied to provide theoretical support for understanding the laws and causes of metal sorption in the soils of the survey. Full article
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14 pages, 873 KiB  
Article
Characterization of Phosphate Compounds along a Catena from Arable and Wetland Soil to Sediments in a Baltic Sea lagoon
by Julia Prüter, Rhena Schumann, Wantana Klysubun and Peter Leinweber
Soil Syst. 2023, 7(1), 15; https://doi.org/10.3390/soilsystems7010015 - 07 Feb 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1466
Abstract
Phosphorus (P) is an indispensable nutrient for arable crops, but at the same time, contributes to excessive eutrophication in aquatic ecosystems. Knowledge about P is essential to assess the possible risks of P being transported towards vulnerable aquatic ecosystems. Our objective was to [...] Read more.
Phosphorus (P) is an indispensable nutrient for arable crops, but at the same time, contributes to excessive eutrophication in aquatic ecosystems. Knowledge about P is essential to assess the possible risks of P being transported towards vulnerable aquatic ecosystems. Our objective was to characterize P along a catena from arable and wetland soils towards aquatic sediments of a shallow lagoon of the Baltic Sea. The characterization of P in soil and sediment samples included a modified sequential P fractionation and P K-edge X-ray absorption near edge structure (XANES) spectroscopy. The concentrations of total P ranged between 390 and 430 mg kg−1 in the arable soils, between 728 and 2258 mg kg−1 in wetland soils and between 132 and 602 mg kg−1 in lagoon sediments. Generally, two sinks for P were revealed along the catena. The wetland soil trapped moderately stable P, Al-P and molybdate-unreactive P (MUP), which are most likely organically bound phosphates. Sediments at the deepest position of the catena acted as a sink for, MUP compounds among the lagoon sediments. Thus, wetlands formed by reed belts can help to prevent the direct transfer of P from arable soils to adjacent waters and deeper basins and help to avoid excessive eutrophication in shallow aquatic ecosystems. Full article
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16 pages, 3119 KiB  
Article
Experimental Warming of Typically Acidic and Nutrient-Poor Boreal Soils Does Not Affect Leaf-Litter Decomposition of Temperate Deciduous Tree Species
by Nicolas Bélanger and Clémence Chaput-Richard
Soil Syst. 2023, 7(1), 14; https://doi.org/10.3390/soilsystems7010014 - 06 Feb 2023
Viewed by 1598
Abstract
Ongoing rapid climatic changes are expected to modify the structure, composition, and functioning of forest ecosystems. Studying the influence of such changes on biogeochemical processes is thus crucial for a fuller understanding of forest response to climate change. In a temperate forest of [...] Read more.
Ongoing rapid climatic changes are expected to modify the structure, composition, and functioning of forest ecosystems. Studying the influence of such changes on biogeochemical processes is thus crucial for a fuller understanding of forest response to climate change. In a temperate forest of Quebec, Canada, we emulated climate change by warming the acidic, nutrient-poor, and dry soils of two mixedwoods by 3 to 4 °C using heating cables. Leaf-litter mass loss of the local red maple, sugar maple, large-tooth aspen, and American beech were monitored to assess the ability of these tree species to condition boreal soils in the context of their northward migration under climate change. We hypothesized that decomposition rates of all leaf-litter types would be decreased equally by warming due to a drying effect of the soil and its surface, which is detrimental to microbial biomass and activity. Our results suggest differences in decomposition rates between tree species as follows: sugar maple > red maple ≥ American beech = large-tooth aspen. There was no indication of a slower turnover in these marginal soils compared to other studies conducted on typical hardwood soils. Moreover, no difference in litter mass loss was detected between treatments, likely due to a drying effect of the soil warming treatment. Results imply that climate change has a marginal influence on leaf-litter dynamics of temperate tree species on soils that are typical of the boreal forest. However, some variables that could play an important role on litter decomposition in the context of climate change were not measured (e.g., plant phenology, understory composition and density, microbes) and thus, uncertainties remain. The soil drying effect by warming also needs to be further documented and modeled. The study year was characterized by significant periods of water stress but was not considered an exceptional year in that regard. It would be relevant to test for leaf-litter dynamics during dry and wet summers and verify again our initial hypothesis of decreased leaf-litter decomposition rates due to soil warming/drying. Full article
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13 pages, 2207 KiB  
Article
Litter Decomposition Is Not Affected by Perfluorobutane Sulfonate (PFBS) in Experimental Soil Microcosms
by Qiaoling Xie, Baile Xu and Matthias C. Rillig
Soil Syst. 2023, 7(1), 13; https://doi.org/10.3390/soilsystems7010013 - 06 Feb 2023
Viewed by 1529
Abstract
Perfluorobutane sulfonate (PFBS) has been found in increasing concentrations in the environment. However, its effect on litter decomposition in soils is still unclear. Therefore, the effect of PFBS on the decomposition of various litter types was tested, as well as on selected aspects [...] Read more.
Perfluorobutane sulfonate (PFBS) has been found in increasing concentrations in the environment. However, its effect on litter decomposition in soils is still unclear. Therefore, the effect of PFBS on the decomposition of various litter types was tested, as well as on selected aspects of soil quality. Soil samples were treated with different concentrations of PFBS (0, 1, and 10 µg g–1) and five organic litter materials were used with various C:N ratios. A soil microcosm experiment was performed at 20 °C for 6 weeks. Litter decomposition, soil respiration, enzyme activities, soil pH, water-stable aggregates (WSA), and soil total C and N contents were measured. PFBS treatments were observed to have negligible effects on litter decomposition as well as on other soil properties. This means that in the concentration range examined, this substance has no observable effects on the key soil parameters examined. The present result was inconsistent with the findings of a previous study with similar experimental microcosms but different soils. This study suggests that the effects of PFBS may be less pronounced in the tested soil, but it cannot be concluded that PFBS is harmless in soil ecosystems. A wider range of soil types and PFBS levels should be tested in future studies. Full article
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18 pages, 2372 KiB  
Article
Natural and Anthropogenic Sources of Cadmium in Cacao Crop Soils of Santander, Colombia
by Valentina Joya-Barrero, Carme Huguet and Jillian Pearse
Soil Syst. 2023, 7(1), 12; https://doi.org/10.3390/soilsystems7010012 - 06 Feb 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2134
Abstract
Elevated cadmium (Cd) levels in cacao products have been detected in a major cacao-producing region of Colombia, with concentrations well above those permitted for export and posing a potential threat to human health. Geochemical and petrographic analyses of fertilizer, soil and rocks from [...] Read more.
Elevated cadmium (Cd) levels in cacao products have been detected in a major cacao-producing region of Colombia, with concentrations well above those permitted for export and posing a potential threat to human health. Geochemical and petrographic analyses of fertilizer, soil and rocks from three farms were used to determine the origin of Cd. Parent rocks were the main source of the Cd in soils, while organic fertilizer may have further contributed to elevated metal content in one farm. High Cd levels in the organic fertilizer were most likely due to bioaccumulation, since it was sourced from animals in the same area. Even though the soil pH range, elevated OM content and the presence of Mn and K diminish bioavailability, the extremely high Cd content in soils results nonetheless in significant uptake by the plants and subsequent accumulation in cocoa beans. Traditional methods to reduce Cd adsorption, such as the addition of calcium, will not be effective in this case. Instead, the selection of cacao species that are naturally low accumulators and amendment with soil microorganisms with mineralization and biotransformation capabilities, as well as testing of fertilizers before application, could all be cost-effective solutions to reduce Cd in the final product. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advancements in Soil and Sustainable Agriculture)
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13 pages, 1973 KiB  
Article
Organic C Fractions in Topsoil under Different Management Systems in Northeastern Brazil
by Adriano Venicius Santana Gualberto, Henrique Antunes de Souza, Edvaldo Sagrilo, Ademir Sergio Ferreira Araujo, Lucas William Mendes, Erika Valente de Medeiros, Arthur Prudêncio de Araujo Pereira, Diogo Paes da Costa, Renato Falconeres Vogado, João Rodrigues da Cunha, Marcos Lopes Teixeira and Luiz Fernando Carvalho Leite
Soil Syst. 2023, 7(1), 11; https://doi.org/10.3390/soilsystems7010011 - 05 Feb 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1902
Abstract
The conversion from native forest to other land-use systems can decline the soil organic carbon (SOC) in tropical soils. However, conservationist management could mitigate SOC losses, promoting the functioning and stability of agricultural soils. This study aimed to address the influence of conversion [...] Read more.
The conversion from native forest to other land-use systems can decline the soil organic carbon (SOC) in tropical soils. However, conservationist management could mitigate SOC losses, promoting the functioning and stability of agricultural soils. This study aimed to address the influence of conversion from native forest to different land-use systems on SOC fractions in Northeastern Brazil. Topsoil soil samples were collected in areas under pasture (PAS), no-tillage (NT1 and NT2), eucalyptus (EUC), and native forests of Cerrado in Northeastern, Brazil. Total organic C, microbial biomass (MBC), particulate (POC), and mineral-occluded organic C (MOC), as well as fulvic acids (C-FA), humic acids (C-HA), and humin (C-HUM) fractions were accessed. The results showed that land conversion maintained similar levels of humic fractions and total organic carbon (TOC) stocks in the PAS, NT1, NT2, and EUC as compared to native Cerrado. Soils with the input of permanent and diverse fresh organic material, such as NT2, PAS, and EUC, presented high levels of MBC and POC, and the lowest C-FA:TOC and C-HA:TOC ratios. The land conversion to agricultural systems that include cropping rotations associated with pasture species such as Mombasa grass and eucalyptus prevents topsoil losses of active C compartments in the Cerrado of the Brazilian Northeast. It suggests that sustainable and conservationist management should be emphasized to maintain and improve the status of soil organic C. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advancements in Soil and Sustainable Agriculture)
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24 pages, 3519 KiB  
Article
Challenges in the Management of Environmentally Fragile Sandy Soils in Southern Brazil
by Luis Eduardo Akiyoshi Sanches Suzuki, Fabrício de Araújo Pedron, Rodrigo Bomicieli de Oliveira and Ana Paula Moreira Rovedder
Soil Syst. 2023, 7(1), 9; https://doi.org/10.3390/soilsystems7010009 - 02 Feb 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1733
Abstract
Quartzipsamments are environmentally fragile soils, being highly susceptible to water and wind erosion. Despite this, it seems that political and economic issues favor the advancement of agriculture in these soils. Therefore, studies are necessary for a better understanding of these soils and to [...] Read more.
Quartzipsamments are environmentally fragile soils, being highly susceptible to water and wind erosion. Despite this, it seems that political and economic issues favor the advancement of agriculture in these soils. Therefore, studies are necessary for a better understanding of these soils and to minimize the impacts of land use. This work aims to characterize the morphological, physical–hydric, and chemical properties of Quartzipsamments under sandyzation in southwest Rio Grande do Sul State, Brazil. Soil morphology was evaluated in six profiles in areas under native field with the presence of gullies, and soil samples with preserved and non-preserved structures were collected to evaluate the physical–hydric and chemical properties. We verified that these soils have high macroporosity (0.253 to 0.373 m3 m−3) and saturated hydraulic conductivity (127.85 to 672.26 mm h−1), and predominantly low organic matter (0.05 to 2.36%) and clay (23.03 to 126.29 g kg−1) content, but correlation analysis showed that increasing pH and organic matter can improve the fertility of these soils. Quartzipsamments have a low volume of available water to plants (0.006 to 0.038 m3 m−3) and have a potential risk of leaching and aquifer contamination. The use of these soils demands the adoption of conservation practices. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Research on Soil Management and Conservation)
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13 pages, 1641 KiB  
Article
Local Calibration of TDR Measurements for Determining Water and Organic Carbon Contents of Peaty Soils
by Claudia Kalla Nielsen and Anton Gårde Thomsen
Soil Syst. 2023, 7(1), 10; https://doi.org/10.3390/soilsystems7010010 - 02 Feb 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1545
Abstract
Time domain reflectometry (TDR) measurements of the volumetric water content (θ) of soils are based on the dielectric permittivity (ε), relating ε to θ, using an empirical calibration function. Accurate determination of θ for peaty soils is vital but complicated by the complexity [...] Read more.
Time domain reflectometry (TDR) measurements of the volumetric water content (θ) of soils are based on the dielectric permittivity (ε), relating ε to θ, using an empirical calibration function. Accurate determination of θ for peaty soils is vital but complicated by the complexity of organic soils and the lack of a general calibration model. Site-specific calibration models were developed to determine θ from TDR measurements for a heterogenous peatland across gradients of peat decomposition and organic carbon (OC) content; derived by soil organic matter conversion. The possibility of predicting OC contents based on the corrected θ (θcor); ε; electrical impedance (Ζ); and a categorical predictor variable was explored. The application of plot-specific and local area calibration models resulted in similar results. Compared to common calibrations, the threshold for accurate determination of θ was at ε = 5; with higher ε underestimating θ by up to 25%. Including the von Post degree of peat humification as a bioindicator, the OC content could be modelled across the area and the full range of θ with an accuracy of ±1.2% for 496 measurements. In conclusion, a strong indication was found for determining OC in peatlands in situ using TDR and a site-specific calibration model for θ together with indices of peat decomposition. Full article
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19 pages, 3147 KiB  
Article
Oat Straw Mulching Reduces Interril Erosion and Nutrient Losses Caused by Runoff in a Newly Planted Peach Orchard
by Luis Eduardo Akiyoshi Sanches Suzuki, Rodrigo de Lima do Amaral, William Roger da Silva Almeida, Mariana Fernandes Ramos and Márcio Renato Nunes
Soil Syst. 2023, 7(1), 8; https://doi.org/10.3390/soilsystems7010008 - 30 Jan 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2017
Abstract
Soil erosion is one of the major problems in the agricultural areas in the world, and straw mulching is a conservation practice that may reduce soil runoff. How much straw mulching is necessary to reduce soil runoff? The objectives of this study were [...] Read more.
Soil erosion is one of the major problems in the agricultural areas in the world, and straw mulching is a conservation practice that may reduce soil runoff. How much straw mulching is necessary to reduce soil runoff? The objectives of this study were to quantify and characterize the runoff under different levels of oat straw mulching, as well as to analyze the cost of soil erosion. An experiment was performed in a site with the soil recently tilled for peach orchard implementation. In the ridges in the row of the peach orchard, plots were placed in order to quantify soil and nutrient losses by surface runoff due to interril erosion on the dates 23 August 2015 and 13 March 2016, considering the treatments were composed of different amounts of oat straw mulching (0, 1, 2, 4 and 8 Mg ha−1). The results showed that the use of oat straw mulching decreased soil runoff, especially the doses ≥2 Mg ha−1, and the cost to replace the available nutrients P, K, Ca and Mg via mineral fertilizer varies from US$ 75.4 (no mulching) to US$ 2.70 per hectare (8 Mg ha−1 oat straw mulching). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Research on Soil Management and Conservation)
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17 pages, 17451 KiB  
Review
Assessment of Microplastics Pollution on Soil Health and Eco-toxicological Risk in Horticulture
by Umesh Sharma, Sunny Sharma, Vishal Singh Rana, Neerja Rana, Vijay Kumar, Shilpa Sharma, Humaira Qadri, Vineet Kumar and Sartaj Ahmad Bhat
Soil Syst. 2023, 7(1), 7; https://doi.org/10.3390/soilsystems7010007 - 23 Jan 2023
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 3499
Abstract
In recent times, the existence of microplastics in the food chain has emerged as a physiological stressor and a multifactorial food safety issue, necessitating an immediate strategic perspective due to the associated human health and eco-toxicological risks. To the best of our knowledge, [...] Read more.
In recent times, the existence of microplastics in the food chain has emerged as a physiological stressor and a multifactorial food safety issue, necessitating an immediate strategic perspective due to the associated human health and eco-toxicological risks. To the best of our knowledge, edible fruit crop facts have not yet been compiled, despite their presence in various food webs. Due to the risks associated with the public’s health when consuming products (e.g., fruit crops) that contain a high concentration of microplastic pollutants, a strategic approach to the emerging issue is essential. In this review, we discussed the possible sources of microplastics and their effect on horticultural crops, soil, and microorganisms; the techniques used to know the constitution of microplastics; the eco-toxicity of microplastics and their derivatives on horticultural crops; and suggested mitigation measures and public policies on control alternatives. This research aims to help environmentalists, biotechnologists, and policymakers understand the mechanism and dynamics of microplastics in soils and edible parts so that potential risks can be mitigated in advance. Full article
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30 pages, 1129 KiB  
Review
Photodegradation and Its Effect on Plant Litter Decomposition in Terrestrial Ecosystems: A Systematic Review
by Mohammed Bakr Hussain, Sara H. Al-Hadidi, Mohammad Bagher Erfanian, Mohamed Nejib Daly Yahia, Muhammed Nayeem Mullungal, Mohammed Alsafran, Yang Bai and Juha M. Alatalo
Soil Syst. 2023, 7(1), 6; https://doi.org/10.3390/soilsystems7010006 - 19 Jan 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2910
Abstract
Photodegradation is an important mechanism that affects carbon and nutrient cycling; a significant amount of data has been reported previously. The present review includes the effect of a wider spectrum of solar radiation (sun light, UV, and visible light) on plant litter decay [...] Read more.
Photodegradation is an important mechanism that affects carbon and nutrient cycling; a significant amount of data has been reported previously. The present review includes the effect of a wider spectrum of solar radiation (sun light, UV, and visible light) on plant litter decay in terrestrial ecosystems. Although the positive effect of photodegradation on decomposition is most common, a substantial number of studies reports contrasting results. Litter from 148 plant species, from 41 families, have been used in photodegradation studies, representing functional groups of trees (33%), graminoids (30%), shrubs (23%), forbs (11%), and peat (1%). Although the majority of studies focused on mass loss, a growing number focuses on nutrient release. Positive effects on mass loss are most common across different climate regions and laboratory studies, whereas “positive” influence and “no effect” on nitrogen and lignin release are equally common in temperate and sub-tropical environments. This may potentially be due to other decomposition processes which increase in relevance with increasing moisture and can facilitate microbial activity, leaching, and fractioning by soil fauna. In addition to climate region, initial litter quality influences photodegradation. Field-based and laboratory experiments frequently obtain contrasting results, suggesting that the mechanisms controlling the responses are unclear and might be dependent on several interactions, and/or the differences in experimental approaches (such as UV filters), or coverage by particles. Future research should focus on interactions between different factors, and on conducting experiments that test specific relationships such as the potential interaction between photodegradation, soil moisture, microbial communities, soil fauna, and their effects on litter decomposition (both mass loss and nutrient release). Furthermore, the topic would benefit from international studies applying the same experimental approach, as has successfully been conducted in other fields. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil Metabolism and Biogenic Emissions of CO2 and N2O)
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3 pages, 216 KiB  
Editorial
Acknowledgment to the Reviewers of Soil Systems in 2022
by Soil Systems Editorial Office
Soil Syst. 2023, 7(1), 5; https://doi.org/10.3390/soilsystems7010005 - 17 Jan 2023
Viewed by 1006
Abstract
High-quality academic publishing is built on rigorous peer review [...] Full article
27 pages, 9664 KiB  
Article
Spatial Optimization of Conservation Practices for Sediment Load Reduction in Ungauged Agricultural Watersheds
by Racha ElKadiri, Henrique G. Momm, Ronald L. Bingner and Katy Moore
Soil Syst. 2023, 7(1), 4; https://doi.org/10.3390/soilsystems7010004 - 13 Jan 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1830
Abstract
Conservation practices (CPs) are used in agricultural watersheds to reduce soil erosion and improve water quality, leading to a sustainable management of natural resources. This is especially important as more pressure is applied on agricultural systems by a growing population and a changing [...] Read more.
Conservation practices (CPs) are used in agricultural watersheds to reduce soil erosion and improve water quality, leading to a sustainable management of natural resources. This is especially important as more pressure is applied on agricultural systems by a growing population and a changing climate. A challenge persists, however, in optimizing the implementation of these practices given their complex, non-linear, and location-dependent response. This study integrates watershed modeling using the Annualized Agricultural Non-Point-Source model and a GIS-based field scale localization and characterization of CPs. The investigated practices are associated with the implementation of riparian buffers, sediment basins, crop rotations, and the conservation reserve program. A total of 33 conservation scenarios were developed to quantify their impact on sediment erosion reduction. This approach was applied in an ungauged watershed as part of the Mississippi River Basin initiative aiming at reducing one of the largest aquatic dead zones in the globe. Simulation results indicate that the targeted approach has a significant impact on the overall watershed-scale sediment load reduction. Among the different evaluated practices, riparian buffers were the most efficient in sediment reduction. Moreover, the study provides a blueprint for similar investigations aiming at building decision-support systems and optimizing the placement of CPs in agricultural watersheds. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Research on Soil Management and Conservation)
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11 pages, 2105 KiB  
Communication
CO2 Emissions in Layered Cranberry Soils under Simulated Warming
by Wilfried Dossou-Yovo, Serge-Étienne Parent, Noura Ziadi and Léon E. Parent
Soil Syst. 2023, 7(1), 3; https://doi.org/10.3390/soilsystems7010003 - 09 Jan 2023
Viewed by 1350
Abstract
Sanding to bury the overgrowth of uprights and promote new growth results in alternate sand and organic sublayers in the 0–30 cm layer of cranberry soils contributing to global carbon storage. The aim of this study was to measure CO2 emission rates [...] Read more.
Sanding to bury the overgrowth of uprights and promote new growth results in alternate sand and organic sublayers in the 0–30 cm layer of cranberry soils contributing to global carbon storage. The aim of this study was to measure CO2 emission rates in cranberry soil sublayers under simulated warming. Soil samples (0–10, 10–20 and 20–30 cm) were incubated in jars for up to 105 days at 10, 20 and 30 °C. The CO2 emission rate was measured biweekly by gas chromatography. The CO2 emission rate increased with temperature and decreased in deeper soil sublayers. Linear regression relating CO2 efflux to soil sublayer and temperature returned R2 = 0.87. Sensitivity of organic matter decomposition to temperature was estimated as activation energy and as Q10 coefficient, the increase in reaction rate per 10 °C. Activation energy was 50 kJ mol−1, 59 kJ mol−1 and 71 kJ mol−1 in the in the 0–10, 10–20 and 20–30 cm sublayers, respectively, indicating higher molecular-weight compounds resisting to decomposition in deeper sublayers. The Q10 values were significantly higher (p < 0.01) in the 10–30 cm (2.79 ± 0.10) than the 0–10 cm (2.18 ± 0.07) sublayers. The 20–30 cm sublayer where less total carbon was stored was the most sensitive to higher temperature. Cranberry soils could be used as sensitive markers of global warming. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Research on Soil Management and Conservation)
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15 pages, 1508 KiB  
Article
Large Chestnut Trees Did Not Respond to Annual Fertiliser Applications, Requiring a Long-Term Approach to Establishing Effective Fertilisation Plans
by Margarida Arrobas, João Silva, Mariah Ruaro Busato, Ana Carolina Ferreira, Soraia Raimundo, Abel Pereira, Taciane Finatto, Nilvania Aparecida de Mello, Carlos Manuel Correia and Manuel Ângelo Rodrigues
Soil Syst. 2023, 7(1), 2; https://doi.org/10.3390/soilsystems7010002 - 05 Jan 2023
Viewed by 1412
Abstract
Due to the high value of the fruit, the European chestnut (Castanea sativa Mill.), usually grown in agroforestry systems, has been planted as a single species in orchards managed with increasingly intensive cropping practices, such as the regular use of fertilisers. This [...] Read more.
Due to the high value of the fruit, the European chestnut (Castanea sativa Mill.), usually grown in agroforestry systems, has been planted as a single species in orchards managed with increasingly intensive cropping practices, such as the regular use of fertilisers. This justifies research into establishing fertilisation programmes oriented towards ecological intensification. In this study, the results of fruit production, plant nutritional status and soil properties are reported from a field trial in which three NPK fertilisers (20:7:10, 13:11:21 and 7:14:14) and a control treatment were used. Chestnut yields did not vary significantly between treatments, although the mean values of the control showed a clear downward trend. N supplied by the fertilisers seems to have been the most important factor in the difference between the fertilised and control treatments, since leaf N concentrations were lower in the control and often below the lower limit of the sufficiency range. Soil inorganic N levels in the autumn, and tissue N concentrations of the herbaceous vegetation developing beneath the trees, indicated risks of N loss to the environment and highlighted the importance of this vegetation remaining during the winter. The chestnuts’ poor response to fertiliser applications was attributed to the buffering effect of the large perennial structure of the trees on the distribution of nutrients to the growing plant parts. In large trees, it seems appropriate to base the annual fertilisation plan on leaf nutrient concentration. Thus, farmers probably should avoid spending money on fertilizer applications as long as leaf nutrient concentrations do not approach the lower limits of sufficiency ranges. Full article
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22 pages, 5331 KiB  
Article
Integrated Biological and Chemical Control against the Maize Late Wilt Agent Magnaporthiopsis maydis
by Asaf Gordani, Bayan Hijazi, Elhanan Dimant and Ofir Degani
Soil Syst. 2023, 7(1), 1; https://doi.org/10.3390/soilsystems7010001 - 03 Jan 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2512
Abstract
Today’s fungal plant disease control efforts tend towards environmentally friendly and reduced chemical applications. While traditional broad-spectrum fungicides provide efficient protection to many field crops, they pose a risk to the soil’s beneficial microflora and a potential health hazard. Moreover, their intensive use [...] Read more.
Today’s fungal plant disease control efforts tend towards environmentally friendly and reduced chemical applications. While traditional broad-spectrum fungicides provide efficient protection to many field crops, they pose a risk to the soil’s beneficial microflora and a potential health hazard. Moreover, their intensive use often evokes the appearance of resistant pathogens. On the other hand, biocontrol agents such as Trichoderma spp. provide a green solution but often cannot shield the plants from aggressive disease outbreaks. Integrated biological and chemical disease control can combine the benefits of both methods while reducing their drawbacks. In the current study, such a bio-chemo approach was developed and evaluated for the first time against the maize late wilt pathogen, Magnaporthiopsis maydis. Combinations of four Trichoderma species and Azoxystrobin were tested, starting with an in vitro seed assay, then a growth room sprouts trial, and finally a semi-field, full-season pot experiment. In the plates assay, all four Trichoderma species, Trichoderma sp. O.Y. (T14707), T. longibrachiatum (T7407), T. asperellum (P1) and T. asperelloides (T203), grew (but with some delay) in the presence of Azoxystrobin minimal inhibition concentration (0.005 mg/L). The latter two species provided high protection to sprouts in the growth room and to potted plants throughout a full season in a semi-field open-enclosure trial. At harvest, the P1 and T203 bio-shielding exhibited the best parameters (statistically significant) in plant growth promotion, yield increase and late wilt protection (up to 29% health recovery and 94% pathogen suppression tracked by real-time PCR). When applied alone, the Azoxystrobin treatment provided minor (insignificant) protection. Adding this fungicide to Trichoderma spp. resulted in similar (statistically equal) results to their sole application. Still, the fact that Azoxystrobin is harmless to the beneficial Trichoderma species over a complete semi-field condition is a great opening stage for carrying out follow-up studies validating the integrated control in a commercial field situation challenged with acute disease stress. Full article
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