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The Sustainability of Agricultural Soils

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Agriculture".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 June 2024 | Viewed by 21332

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Agrochemistry and Environment, University Miguel Hernández of Elche, 03202 Elche, Spain
Interests: soil-water-plant system; waste management and recycling
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
Department of Agrochemistry and Environment, University Miguel Hernández of Elche, 03202 Elche, Alicante, Spain
Interests: mineralogy; soils rehabilitation; technosols

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Soils are becoming more and more important in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations and mitigating the effects of global warming. The aim of this Special Issue is to improve the available information about strategies that favour the sustainable managment of soils.

Research and review articles focusing on soil’s physical, chemical and biological properties and ways to improve them in order to provide good ecosystemic servicies, control pollution and mitigate and favour carbon sequestration are the main targets. However, many other aspects can be taken into consideration.

Social issues related to soil and sustainability, as well as scientific matters, are welcome. It is critical for the sustainability of agricultural soils and, in general, for our limited resources, to understand that science and social sciences should be taken into consideration. Technical and scientific solutions need to be understood prior to the application, and social conviction that they are good tools is needed. Moreover, examples of good practices such as those derived, for instance, from international projects like those developed under the LIFE program of the European Union are welcome, as well as strategies and examples from developing countries.

By way of summary, we can indicate that the main interest is focused on three main themes:

  • Research and technical methods related to sustainable soil management;
  • Examples of good practices applied and the possibility of extend them to other regions;
  • Social aspects related to sustainable soil management and their involvement in society.

Prof. Dr. José Navarro Pedreño
Prof. Dr. Manuel Jordan-Vidal
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • carbon sequestration
  • economy and sustainable soil management
  • local communities and subsistence
  • food and fiber production
  • organic matter
  • plough and tillage management
  • pollution control
  • soil erosion
  • soil rehabilitation
  • waste management, technosols

Published Papers (13 papers)

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Research

16 pages, 1618 KiB  
Article
Effects of Straw Return Duration on Soil Carbon Fractions and Wheat Yield in Rice–Wheat Cropping System
by Siyuan Cui, Guangqiao Cao and Xinkai Zhu
Sustainability 2024, 16(2), 754; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16020754 - 16 Jan 2024
Viewed by 583
Abstract
In China’s subtropical rice–wheat cropping system, the changes in the soil organic carbon (SOC) pool due to long-term straw return and its connection with crop yield remain unclear. This study aims to provide insights into establishing a sensible straw return system by evaluating [...] Read more.
In China’s subtropical rice–wheat cropping system, the changes in the soil organic carbon (SOC) pool due to long-term straw return and its connection with crop yield remain unclear. This study aims to provide insights into establishing a sensible straw return system by evaluating the differences in the distribution and variation rates of SOC, light fraction organic carbon (LFOC), heavy fraction organic carbon (HFOC), particulate organic carbon (POC), and mineral-associated organic carbon (MOC) in the 0–20 cm soil layer under different durations of straw return. Additionally, the study analyzes the relationship between the changes in SOC and its fractions and wheat yield. The experiment was conducted in 2019 in a rice–wheat rotation field with ten years of straw return treatments: no straw return (NR) or 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 year(s) of straw return (SR1–9), and an additional treatment in 2020 (10 years of straw return, SR10). The results revealed that with an increase in the duration of straw return, the contents of SOC, LFOC, HFOC, and POC gradually increased, showing the highest increments of 45.88%, 187.22%, 41.55%, 97.89%, and 28.21%, respectively, compared to the NR treatment. However, after eight years of straw return, the compound annual increase in soil organic carbon and its components was lower than in years 1–8, indicating a trend of diminishing increments. The SOC content and its variation were significantly correlated with the content and variation of LFOC, HFOC, POC, and MOC, with the highest sensitivity observed for the variation in LFOC, indicating the strong influence of the duration of straw return. The SOC and its fraction contents showed significant positive correlations with wheat yield, with the highest contribution to wheat yield increase attributed to an increase in LFOC content. In summary, straw return enhances the 0–20 cm deep soil carbon pool, with LFOC being the most sensitive indicator, reflecting the influence of the duration of straw return on soil carbon pools. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Sustainability of Agricultural Soils)
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15 pages, 2731 KiB  
Article
The Role of Agricultural Projects in Building Sustainable and Resilient Maize Value Chain in Burkina Faso
by Mupangi Sithole, Assan Ng’ombe, Collins M. Musafiri, Milka Kiboi, Tomas Sales and Felix K. Ngetich
Sustainability 2023, 15(24), 16684; https://doi.org/10.3390/su152416684 - 08 Dec 2023
Viewed by 842
Abstract
Poor seed quality and climate change significantly affect the maize value chain in Burkina Faso. To address the challenges, a catalytic project titled “Strengthening resilient seed systems in the maize value chain in Burkina Faso—from research to markets” was initiated to enhance the [...] Read more.
Poor seed quality and climate change significantly affect the maize value chain in Burkina Faso. To address the challenges, a catalytic project titled “Strengthening resilient seed systems in the maize value chain in Burkina Faso—from research to markets” was initiated to enhance the development of a resilient maize value chain. This study aims to assess the role of the project in developing a sustainable and resilient maize value chain. In this study, we used a mixed approach in design and implementation: qualitative research using key informants’ interviews, secondary data such as baseline survey reports, and lessons learned during the seed value chain greening intervention implemented in the Hauts-Bassins and Cascades regions of Burkina Faso. We analyzed qualitative data following the Gioia method. Kabako, a drought-tolerant hybrid seed variety, doubled crop yields in demonstration plots compared to smallholder farms and regional and national averages. Extension officers and village-based advisors (VBAs) were trained on improved seeds, composting, strip cropping, intercropping, crop rotation, and water management technologies and afterward trained smallholders. The VBAs trained smallholders on proper postharvest management practices and processing. The off-takers acted as the market. However, smallholders also sold their maize products in the informal open markets. The aggregator system was the missing link in Burkina Faso’s maize value chain. There was limited involvement of women in the project. Results obtained from this study are valuable for policymakers and value chain actors in preparing policies and filling missing gaps for exploiting the potential of the maize value chain. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Sustainability of Agricultural Soils)
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14 pages, 1262 KiB  
Article
Characterization of Technosols for Urban Agriculture
by Borja Ferrández-Gómez, Juana Dolores Jordá, Antonio Sánchez-Sánchez and Mar Cerdán
Sustainability 2023, 15(22), 15769; https://doi.org/10.3390/su152215769 - 09 Nov 2023
Viewed by 1223
Abstract
Soil characterization is essential for planning activities in urban areas in order to detect potential risks and understand the possible impacts derived from those activities. Nine soils located in Alicante (southeast of Spain) developed over construction debris were studied. Soil characteristics including mineralogy, [...] Read more.
Soil characterization is essential for planning activities in urban areas in order to detect potential risks and understand the possible impacts derived from those activities. Nine soils located in Alicante (southeast of Spain) developed over construction debris were studied. Soil characteristics including mineralogy, elemental composition and metal availability were analyzed in two consecutive years, 2019 and 2020. These soils were similar to forest soils in the same area, with no evidence of asbestos clays or excess harmful elements. However, the use of DTPA extraction revealed high levels of Mn and Zn in some soils. Organic carbon and metals extracted with DTPA differed in 2019 and 2020, but no relationship between metal-DTPA and organic carbon content was observed. In general, organic matter content was higher in 2019, and elements extracted with DTPA were lower. The above-average rainfall in 2019 could have led to the washing away of dissolved materials and fine soil particles, decreasing elemental availability on the one hand, while promoting the development of natural vegetation, increasing soil organic matter, and immobilizing elements in living organisms on the other hand. The fact that the metal mobility varies depending on weather and soil characteristics is important when planning. Despite the demonstrated advantages of increasing urban green areas from an environmental and social point of view, we should not forget the materials on which urban soils are developed. Therefore, it is essential to establish annual plans for monitoring variations in the availability of heavy metals. This is of the most relevance when the plants are for human consumption. It is therefore also necessary to control the vegetables that grow on these soils and, in the event of possible problems, use the soil for gardening. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Sustainability of Agricultural Soils)
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17 pages, 1481 KiB  
Article
Building a Resilient and Sustainable Sorghum Value Chain in Tanzania’s Lake Zone Region
by Assan Ng’ombe, Mupangi Sithole, Collins Muimi Musafiri, Milka Kiboi, Tomas Sales and Felix Ngetich
Sustainability 2023, 15(20), 15107; https://doi.org/10.3390/su152015107 - 20 Oct 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1423
Abstract
Climate change and low agricultural productivity are the major hurdles facing sorghum farming in the Lake Zone Region of Tanzania. However, there is limited information on the contribution of sustainable projects in greening the sorghum value chain in Tanzania. This study aims to [...] Read more.
Climate change and low agricultural productivity are the major hurdles facing sorghum farming in the Lake Zone Region of Tanzania. However, there is limited information on the contribution of sustainable projects in greening the sorghum value chain in Tanzania. This study aims to analyze how to develop a resilient and sustainable sorghum value chain using a project approach. Primary and secondary data were collected and used. Primary data were collected using key informant interviews (KII) administered to the value chain actors using audio recordings and notes. Secondary data were obtained from project-related project documents, reports, publications, and conference proceedings. The audio recordings were transcribed into lengthy notes summarized for ease of interview theme identification. To enhance access to improved seeds and fertilizers and advisory services, a linkage between the agro-dealers (input suppliers), farmers, and extension personnel was established to improve farmers’ yield potential. Good agricultural practices, e.g., planting methods and pest management and improved seed varieties that were drought tolerant, early maturing, and high yielding, such as Macia and Tegemeo, were readily available in shops and promoted through the establishment of demo plots. Local aggregation of sorghum grain helped to ease transport-to-market logistics for farmers and contributed to lower transport costs. Mechanized threshing was promoted to ensure the high-quality crop is sold to the off-taker for premium prices and meets the export market requirements. We highlight the Lake Zone project experiences and lessons learned to demonstrate the potential for building resilience and sustainability of the sorghum value chain. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Sustainability of Agricultural Soils)
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13 pages, 7233 KiB  
Article
The Structural Quality of Soil Organic Matter under Selected Soil Fertility Management Practices in the Central Highlands of Kenya
by Miriam Githongo, Lucy Ngatia, Milka Kiboi, Anne Muriuki, Andreas Fliessbach, Collins Musafiri, Riqiang Fu and Felix Ngetich
Sustainability 2023, 15(8), 6500; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15086500 - 11 Apr 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1525
Abstract
As influenced by agricultural practices, soil organic matter (SOM) stability is imperative in maintaining soil fertility and crop production. Integrated soil management practices have been recommended for soil fertility improvement by enhancing soil organic matter. We examined the SOM stability under integrated soil [...] Read more.
As influenced by agricultural practices, soil organic matter (SOM) stability is imperative in maintaining soil fertility and crop production. Integrated soil management practices have been recommended for soil fertility improvement by enhancing soil organic matter. We examined the SOM stability under integrated soil management practices for six consecutive cropping seasons in the high agricultural potential area of the Central Highlands of Kenya. The experimental design was a complete randomized block design with fourteen treatments replicated four times. The treatments were minimum (Mt) and conventional tillage (Ct) combined with sole mineral fertilizer (Mf), crop residue combined with mineral fertilizer (RMf), crop residue combined with mineral fertilizer and animal manure (RMfM), crop residue combined with animal manure and Dolichos Lablab L. intercrop (RML), crop residue combined with Tithonia diversifolia and animal manure (RTiM), and crop residue combined with Tithonia diversifolia and phosphate rock (Minjingu) (RTiP), as well as a control (no inputs). SOC was higher in treatments with organic inputs and a combination of organic and inorganic inputs. Treatments with sole mineral fertilizer and no input recorded lower SOC amounts. The C functional groups followed the sequence: alkyl C (53%) > O-alkyl C (17%) > aromatic C (9%) > carboxyl C (8%) > methoxyl C (7%) > phenolic C (6%). The alkyl C proportion was higher in organic inputs treatments, while O-alkyl C was higher in organic and inorganic fertilizer treatment combinations. Methoxyl C, aromatic C, and phenolic C proportion of SOC was greater in crop residue and mineral fertilizer combination, while carboxylic C was lower than the control in most treatments. In addition, the organic inputs treatments had a higher alkyl C/O-alkyl C ratio, increased aliphaticity, and higher hydrophobicity. Applying organic fertilizers individually or in combination with inorganic fertilizers could potentially increase C storage in the soil, thereby enhancing SOC stocks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Sustainability of Agricultural Soils)
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17 pages, 2367 KiB  
Article
Effects of Urea Application on Soil Organic Nitrogen Mineralization and Nitrogen Fertilizer Availability in a Rice–Broad Bean Rotation System
by Xinyan Liu, Huanhao Han, Shixiang Gu and Rong Gao
Sustainability 2023, 15(7), 6091; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15076091 - 31 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1184
Abstract
Rice cultivation is facing a situation where rice production stagnates while nitrogen fertilizer (NF) application continues to increase. The effectiveness of the NF residues from the rice season on the growth of rotating broad beans is unclear. High NF use in rice cultivation [...] Read more.
Rice cultivation is facing a situation where rice production stagnates while nitrogen fertilizer (NF) application continues to increase. The effectiveness of the NF residues from the rice season on the growth of rotating broad beans is unclear. High NF use in rice cultivation also affects the nitrogen supply through soil organic nitrogen (SON) mineralization (SONM). However, the rules of SONM and the NF availability in the rice–broad bean rotation system (RBRS) are unknown. A field trial of the RBRS was conducted using 15N-labeled urea (CO(15NH2)2) as the partial NF source (15N accounted for 5.3% of the total pure nitrogen applied) for the rice and no NF for the broad bean. It was found that 33.0–38.1% of NF in the rice season was utilized. NF availability was low in the broad bean season (3.6–4.0%). SONM was the most important source, providing approximately 60% of the nitrogen for rice growth. The SONM into mineral nitrogen and the fixation of mineral nitrogen into SON occurred simultaneously, with SONM dominating in most cases. SON content decreased slowly in the rice season and dramatically in the broad bean’s podding stage with a 0.64 g kg−1 (24.1%) decrease. The high nitrogen application in rice season promoted SONM and aggravated groundwater pollution. Soil urease activity, rather than catalase, phosphatase, and invertase activities, can be the main monitoring object of SONM. Furthermore, fungal abundance (especially Aspergillaceae, Neuroceae, and unclassified_o__Helotiales), rather than bacteria, was the primary target for SONM monitoring. It is unreasonable to apply large amounts of NF in the rice season but not in the broad bean season in the RBRS. N1 (135 kg N ha−1) had the best comprehensive benefits regarding crop yield, nitrogen supply by SONM, NF utilization, and nitrogen loss on the environment in the RBRS. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Sustainability of Agricultural Soils)
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16 pages, 3007 KiB  
Article
Potassium Simulation Using HYDRUS-1D with Satellite-Derived Meteorological Data under Boro Rice Cultivation
by Ayushi Gupta, Manika Gupta, Prashant K. Srivastava, George P. Petropoulos and Ram Kumar Singh
Sustainability 2023, 15(3), 2147; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15032147 - 23 Jan 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1529
Abstract
Potassium (K) is a critical nutrient for crops, as it is a major constituent in fertilizer formulations. With increasing concentrations of K in agricultural soil, it is necessary to understand its movement and retention in the soil. Sub-surface modeling is an alternative method [...] Read more.
Potassium (K) is a critical nutrient for crops, as it is a major constituent in fertilizer formulations. With increasing concentrations of K in agricultural soil, it is necessary to understand its movement and retention in the soil. Sub-surface modeling is an alternative method to overcome the exhausting and uneconomical methods to study and determine the actual concentration of K in soil. HYDRUS-1D is considered an effective finite-element model which is suitable for sub-surface modeling. This model requires the input of ground-station meteorological (GM) data taken at a daily timestep for the simulation period. It can be a limiting factor in the absence of ground stations. The study compares K predictions in surface and sub-surface soil layers under Boro rice cultivation obtained with the usage of different meteorological datasets. Thus, the main hypothesis of the study was to validate that, in the absence of GM data, satellite-based meteorological data could be utilized for simulating the K concentration in soil. The two meteorological datasets that are considered in the study included the GM and satellite-derived NASA-Power (NP) meteorological datasets. The usage of a satellite meteorological product at a field scale may help in applying the method to other regions where GM data is not available. The numerical model results were validated with field experiments from four experimental fields which included varied K doses. The concentration in soil was assessed at the regular depths (0–5, 5–10, 10–15, 15–30, 30–45 and 45–60 cm), and at various stages of crop growth, from bare soil and sowing, to the tillering stages. The concentration of K was measured in the laboratory and also simulated through the optimized model. The modeled values were compared with measured values statistically using relative root mean square error (RMSER) and Nash–Sutcliffe modeling efficiency (E) for simulating K concentration in the soil for the Boro rice cropping pattern with both GM data and NP data. The model was found most suitable for the 0–30 cm depth on all days and for all treatment variations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Sustainability of Agricultural Soils)
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17 pages, 2518 KiB  
Article
Organic Carbon Content in Fractions of Soils Managed for Soil Fertility Improvement in Sub-Humid Agroecosystems of Kenya
by Miriam Githongo, Milka Kiboi, Anne Muriuki, Andreas Fliessbach, Collins Musafiri and Felix K. Ngetich
Sustainability 2023, 15(1), 683; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15010683 - 30 Dec 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1981
Abstract
Soil health and fertility are indexed by soil organic carbon (SOC) content. Soil management through good agricultural practices that enhance and sustain SOC is vital for soil fertility. We examined the influence of soil fertility management strategies on SOC concentrations in different particle [...] Read more.
Soil health and fertility are indexed by soil organic carbon (SOC) content. Soil management through good agricultural practices that enhance and sustain SOC is vital for soil fertility. We examined the influence of soil fertility management strategies on SOC concentrations in different particle size fractions under a maize cropping system. We laid the experiment in a randomized complete block design, with 14 treatments replicated 4 times, and used the following inputs: inorganic fertilizer (Mf), maize residue +inorganic fertilizer (RMf), maize residue + inorganic fertilizer, and goat manure (RMfM), maize residue + goat manure + Dolichos Lablab L intercrop (RML), maize residue + Tithonia diversifolia + goat manure (RTiM) and maize residue + Tithonia diversifolia + phosphate rock (Minjingu) (RTiP) and a Control (no inputs) under reduced tillage (Mt) or conventional tillage (Ct). Soil samples were collected from two depths, 0–5 cm, and 5–15 cm. We determined the content of organic carbon in three physical fractionation: coarse fractions (1.7 mm, 500 µm sieve), medium fractions (250 µm and 90 µm), and a fine fraction (75 µm). Results showed that treatment with maize residues, goat manure, and legume intercrop (MtRML and CtRML) resulted in higher SOC in most fractions, irrespective of the soil depth. The SOC concentration significantly (p < 0.0001) differed across treatments and depth. It was followed by maize residue, goat manure, and inorganic fertilizer treatments, and the least was inorganic fertilizer treatment. This underpins the importance of manure application and crop residue retention in increasing SOC amounts. Reduced tillage did not influence the SOC amounts during the sampling period in the experimentation site. This study highlights the possibility of improving agricultural productivity by improving soil fertility through a combination of different agricultural soil fertility amendments in Sub-Saharan Africa. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Sustainability of Agricultural Soils)
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12 pages, 583 KiB  
Article
Environmental Risk from Organic Residues
by Teresa Rodríguez-Espinosa, Jose Navarro-Pedreño, Ignacio Gómez Lucas, María Belén Almendro Candel, Ana Pérez Gimeno, Manuel Jordán Vidal, Iliana Papamichael and Antonis A. Zorpas
Sustainability 2023, 15(1), 192; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15010192 - 22 Dec 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1876
Abstract
Soil nutrient imbalance is a global threat to food security and ecosystem sustainability but adding organic residues or constructing anthropogenic soils and technosols can optimize it. However, FAO considers organic residues not “risk-free”, mainly due to their heavy metal content. Despite the fact [...] Read more.
Soil nutrient imbalance is a global threat to food security and ecosystem sustainability but adding organic residues or constructing anthropogenic soils and technosols can optimize it. However, FAO considers organic residues not “risk-free”, mainly due to their heavy metal content. Despite the fact that applying pruning residues to soil is a worldwide fertilization practice, its potential heavy metal risk has been poorly studied. This work characterizes Cu, Zn, Cd, Cr, Ni and Pb elemental composition concentration and their solubility content in almond tree pruning, commercial peat substrate, hay straw, olive tree pruning, pomegranate peel, pine needle, date palm leaf pruning, sewage sludge compost and vine pruning. Furthermore, we compare the legal frameworks governing heavy metal content in agricultural substrates to heavy metal concentration in each residue. Results show that commercial peat substrate is the only one among those studied that surpasses the threshold value for Cr in agricultural substrates. All pruning residues met the heavy metal threshold value; hence, their application to soil involves minimal soil toxicity. Moreover, the solubility index of heavy metals and the maximum quantity of each residue are crucial to discerning a heavy metal-free organic fertilization plan. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Sustainability of Agricultural Soils)
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13 pages, 1768 KiB  
Article
Influence of Organic Amendments on Soil Carbon Sequestration Potential of Paddy Soils under Two Irrigation Regimes
by Sabina Yeasmin, Assaduzzaman, Md. Shirajul Kabir, Md. Parvez Anwar, A. K. M. Mominul Islam and Tahsina Sharmin Hoque
Sustainability 2022, 14(19), 12369; https://doi.org/10.3390/su141912369 - 28 Sep 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1653
Abstract
Soil organic carbon (OC) is one of the most important soil components regulating soil quality, fertility and agronomic productivity as well as the global carbon (C) cycle. Soil acts as a sink for global C, which can be influenced by the water regime [...] Read more.
Soil organic carbon (OC) is one of the most important soil components regulating soil quality, fertility and agronomic productivity as well as the global carbon (C) cycle. Soil acts as a sink for global C, which can be influenced by the water regime and organic matter (OM) management in field. The aim of this study is to evaluate the effect of the application of different organic amendments on C sequestration in paddy soils under contrasting irrigation regimes. A 4-month pot experiment was conducted under net house conditions and the treatments were composed of two organic amendments: rice straw (RS) and poultry manure (PM); four application rates of amendment: 0 g (control), 2.5 g, 5.0 g and 15.0 g kg−1 soil; and two irrigation regimes: (i) continuous waterlogging condition (CWL) and (ii) alternate wetting and drying (AWD). After the incubation period, soil samples were collected from the pot and isolated into labile (>53 µm) and mineral-associated (<53 µm) OM. Bulk (before and after incubation) and fractionated soil samples were analyzed for OC, total nitrogen (N), C:N ratio; and C sequestration percentage was calculated. Relatively higher amounts of soil OC were present in CWL condition (1.23%) than AWD (1.13%). The C sequestration potential also showed the similar trend (CWL: 47% > AWD: 35%). This was explained by the induced aerobic condition in between the anerobic condition in AWD and the continuous anaerobic condition in CWL which resulted in a difference in OM decomposition. The mineral-associated OM fraction (<53 µm) was higher in the CWL condition than AWD condition which also indicated the importance of the chemical stabilization of OC (OC bound to minerals) in the CWL condition. The application of PM led to a significant increase (45%) in C sequestration potential than RS (37%). This could be attributed to C:N ratio and probable biochemical composition of amendments which resulted in lower decomposability of PM than RS, and also in line with the higher distribution of OC in mineral-bound OM than labile fraction. The application of higher organic amendments did not increase OC content, and declined C sequestration potential in soils as the microbial activity presumably did not match with the amendment amount. Overall, C sequestration potential was higher with 5 g PM kg−1 soil application under CWL-irrigated paddy soil. The findings indicated the need to pay more attention to the selection of the proper type and rate of organic amendments for higher C sequestration in soil under a specific irrigation system for sustainable agriculture. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Sustainability of Agricultural Soils)
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15 pages, 1898 KiB  
Article
Synergizing Microbial Enriched Municipal Solid Waste Compost and Mineral Gypsum for Optimizing Rice-Wheat Productivity in Sodic Soils
by Yash P. Singh, Sanjay Arora, Vinay K. Mishra and Atul K. Singh
Sustainability 2022, 14(13), 7809; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14137809 - 27 Jun 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1360
Abstract
Municipal solid waste management and poor fertility status of sodic soils are two important issues experienced by all developing nations including India. Disposal of municipal solid waste (MSW) being produced in huge amounts is a challenging task for researchers and policy makers. Reclamation [...] Read more.
Municipal solid waste management and poor fertility status of sodic soils are two important issues experienced by all developing nations including India. Disposal of municipal solid waste (MSW) being produced in huge amounts is a challenging task for researchers and policy makers. Reclamation of salt affected soils with chemical amendments is a costly affair for resource-poor farmers. Composting of MSW and its enrichment with microbes is one of the options for its recycling and utilization for the reclamation of salt-affected soils. A field experiment was conducted in sodic soil to study the performance of microbial enriched municipal solid waste compost (EMSWC) alone and in combination with a reduced dose of gypsum on growth, yield, nutrient uptake, and grain quality of rice and wheat. The experiment was conducted for three consecutive years from 2018 to 2019 and 2020 to 2021 at ICAR Central Soil Salinity Research Institute, Research farm, Shivri, Lucknow, India, in sodic soil having pH 9.2, electrical conductivity (EC) 1.14 dSm−1, exchangeable sodium percentage (ESP) 48, and organic carbon 0.30%. There were six treatments consisting of control, recommended dose of gypsum (50% GR), and enriched and un-enriched MSW compost with reduced dose of gypsum (25% GR). Based on the results pertaining to plant growth, yield-attributing characters, and yields, the treatment T6 (application of microbial enriched MSW compost @ 10 t ha−1 in conjunction with gypsum @25% GR) performed the best. Grain yield of rice and wheat (5.45 and 3.92 t ha−1) with treatment T6 was 29.45% and 110.75% higher over control (T1) and 29.45% and 110.06% over the recommended dose of gypsum (T2). Maximum nutrient content and N, P, and K uptake in rice-wheat grain and straw was observed with the treatment T6 (MSW compost plus gypsum @ 25 GR). However, the highest Na content and Na: K ratio in plant parts were recorded in treatment T2. The highest positive net return and benefit to cost (B/C) ratio were observed in treatment T6 followed by T5 and the lowest in treatment T1 (control), whereas negative return was calculated in treatment of gypsum alone (T2). This shows that the cost of sodic soil reclamation with application of gypsum was not recovered until the second year of cultivation. The results of this study showed significant impacts in MSW management for regaining the productivity potential of sodic soils. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Sustainability of Agricultural Soils)
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21 pages, 1632 KiB  
Article
Greenhouse Gas Fluxes from Selected Soil Fertility Management Practices in Humic Nitisols of Upper Eastern Kenya
by Miriam W Githongo, Collins M. Musafiri, Joseph M. Macharia, Milka N. Kiboi, Andreas Fliessbach, Anne Muriuki and Felix K. Ngetich
Sustainability 2022, 14(3), 1938; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14031938 - 08 Feb 2022
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2469
Abstract
We quantified the soil carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O) fluxes of five soil fertility management practices (inorganic fertilizer (Mf), maize residue + inorganic fertilizer (RMf), maize residue + inorganic fertilizer + goat manure [...] Read more.
We quantified the soil carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O) fluxes of five soil fertility management practices (inorganic fertilizer (Mf), maize residue + inorganic fertilizer (RMf), maize residue + inorganic fertilizer + goat manure (RMfM), maize residue + tithonia diversifolia + goat manure (RTiM), and a control (CtC)) in Kenya’s central highlands using a static chamber method from March 2019 to March 2020. The cumulative annual soil CH4 uptake ranged from −1.07 to −0.64 kg CH4-C ha−1 yr−1, CO2 emissions from 4.59 to 9.01 Mg CO2-C ha−1 yr−1, and N2O fluxes from 104 to 279 g N2O-N ha−1 yr−1. The RTiM produced the highest CO2 emissions (9.01 Mg CO2-C ha−1 yr−1), carbon sequestration (3.99 Mg CO2-eq ha−1), yield-scaled N2O emissions (YSE) (0.043 g N2O-N kg−1 grain yield), the lowest net global warming potential (net GWP) (−14.7 Mg CO2-eq ha−1) and greenhouse gas intensities (GHGI) (−2.81 Kg CO2-eq kg−1 grain yield). We observed average maize grain yields of 7.98 Mg ha−1 yr−1 under RMfM treatment. Integrating inorganic fertilizer and maize residue retention resulted in low emissions, increased soil organic carbon sequestration, and high maize yields. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Sustainability of Agricultural Soils)
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9 pages, 1629 KiB  
Article
Zinc Concentration and Distribution in Vineyard Soils and Grapevine Leaves from Valdepeñas Designation of Origin (Central Spain)
by Francisco Jesús García-Navarro, Raimundo Jiménez-Ballesta, Jesus Garcia-Pradas, Jose A. Amoros, Caridad Perez de los Reyes and Sandra Bravo
Sustainability 2021, 13(13), 7390; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13137390 - 01 Jul 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1974
Abstract
(1) Background: The purpose of this study was to investigate zinc contents in leaves and soils of the Valdepeñas Protected Designation of Origin (PDO), situated in central Spain. Zn distribution maps of leaves and soils were obtained. (2) Methods: Ninety soil profiles were [...] Read more.
(1) Background: The purpose of this study was to investigate zinc contents in leaves and soils of the Valdepeñas Protected Designation of Origin (PDO), situated in central Spain. Zn distribution maps of leaves and soils were obtained. (2) Methods: Ninety soil profiles were described, sampled and analyzed. Furthermore, vineyard leaves were collected randomly in each of the analyzed soil vineyard profiles. Soil and leaf samples were analyzed by X-ray fluorescence. (3) Results: The mean total Zn concentrations in vineyard soils were in the range of 16.2–153.7 mg·kg−1, with a mean of 47.5 mg·kg−1. The obtained values above the 95th percentile (between 81.3 and 153.7 mg·kg−1) could be affected by different parent materials or Zn agricultural treatments in vineyards. Contents in different soils follow the order Entisol > Alfisol > Inceptisol. The average Zn content value in leaves was 23.8 mg·kg−1 and oscillated between 11.5 and 93.3 mg·kg−1; minor differences were detected between soil types, with the highest value in plants grown on soils without carbonates. (4) Conclusions: The obtained values are optimal for vine cultivation. The bioaccumulation factors in leaves were lower than unity (0.24–0.53 range). This means that the Zn bioaccumulation process is relatively low in the soil–grapevine system. This study serves as a reference to identify areas that present Zn deficiencies or risk of contamination. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Sustainability of Agricultural Soils)
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