Crop traits drive soil carbon sequestration under organic farming

Pablo García-Palacios, Andreas Gattinger, Helene Bracht-Jørgensen, Lijbert Brussaard, Filipe Carvalho, Helena Castro, Jean Christophe Clément, Gerlinde De Deyn, Tina D'Hertefeldt, Arnaud Foulquier, Katarina Hedlund, Sandra Lavorel, Nicolas Legay, Martina Lori, Paul Mäder, Laura B. Martínez-García, Pedro Martins da Silva, Adrian Muller, Eduardo Nascimento, Filipa Reis & 3 others Sarah Symanczik, José Paulo Sousa, Rubén Milla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Organic farming (OF) enhances top soil organic carbon (SOC) stocks in croplands compared with conventional farming (CF), which can contribute to sequester C. As farming system differences in the amount of C inputs to soil (e.g. fertilization and crop residues) are not enough to explain such increase, shifts in crop residue traits important for soil C losses such as litter decomposition may also play a role. To assess whether crop residue (leaf and root) traits determined SOC sequestration responses to OF, we coupled a global meta-analysis with field measurements across a European-wide network of sites. In the meta-analysis, we related crop species averages of leaf N, leaf-dry matter content, fine-root C and N, with SOC stocks and sequestration responses in OF vs. CF. Across six European sites, we measured the management-induced changes in SOC stocks and leaf litter traits after long-term ecological intensive (e.g. OF) vs. CF comparisons. Our global meta-analysis showed that the positive OF-effects on soil respiration, SOC stocks, and SOC sequestration rates were significant even in organic farms with low manure application rates. Although fertilization intensity was the main driver of OF-effects on SOC, leaf and root N concentrations also played a significant role. Across the six European sites, changes towards higher leaf litter N in CF also promoted lower SOC stocks. Our results highlight that crop species displaying traits indicative of resource-acquisitive strategies (e.g. high leaf and root N) increase the difference in SOC between OF and CF. Indeed, changes towards higher crop residue decomposability was related with decreased SOC stocks under CF across European sites. Synthesis and applications. Our study emphasizes that, with management, changes in crop residue traits contribute to the positive effects of organic farming (OF) on soil carbon sequestration. These results provide a clear message to land managers: the choice of crop species, and more importantly their functional traits (e.g. leave and root nitrogen), should be considered in addition to management practices and climate, when evaluating the potential of OF for climate change mitigation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2496-2505
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Applied Ecology
Volume55
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2018

Fingerprint

organic farming
soil carbon
carbon sequestration
organic carbon
crop
crop residue
soil
meta-analysis
leaf litter
fine root
soil respiration
farming system
topsoil
dry matter
manure
management practice
litter
farm
decomposition

Keywords

  • climate change mitigation
  • crop residue
  • ecological intensification
  • leaf nitrogen
  • meta-analysis
  • organic farming
  • resource economics traits
  • soil carbon stocks

Cite this

García-Palacios, P., Gattinger, A., Bracht-Jørgensen, H., Brussaard, L., Carvalho, F., Castro, H., ... Milla, R. (2018). Crop traits drive soil carbon sequestration under organic farming. Journal of Applied Ecology, 55(5), 2496-2505. https://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2664.13113
García-Palacios, Pablo ; Gattinger, Andreas ; Bracht-Jørgensen, Helene ; Brussaard, Lijbert ; Carvalho, Filipe ; Castro, Helena ; Clément, Jean Christophe ; De Deyn, Gerlinde ; D'Hertefeldt, Tina ; Foulquier, Arnaud ; Hedlund, Katarina ; Lavorel, Sandra ; Legay, Nicolas ; Lori, Martina ; Mäder, Paul ; Martínez-García, Laura B. ; Martins da Silva, Pedro ; Muller, Adrian ; Nascimento, Eduardo ; Reis, Filipa ; Symanczik, Sarah ; Paulo Sousa, José ; Milla, Rubén. / Crop traits drive soil carbon sequestration under organic farming. In: Journal of Applied Ecology. 2018 ; Vol. 55, No. 5. pp. 2496-2505.
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title = "Crop traits drive soil carbon sequestration under organic farming",
abstract = "Organic farming (OF) enhances top soil organic carbon (SOC) stocks in croplands compared with conventional farming (CF), which can contribute to sequester C. As farming system differences in the amount of C inputs to soil (e.g. fertilization and crop residues) are not enough to explain such increase, shifts in crop residue traits important for soil C losses such as litter decomposition may also play a role. To assess whether crop residue (leaf and root) traits determined SOC sequestration responses to OF, we coupled a global meta-analysis with field measurements across a European-wide network of sites. In the meta-analysis, we related crop species averages of leaf N, leaf-dry matter content, fine-root C and N, with SOC stocks and sequestration responses in OF vs. CF. Across six European sites, we measured the management-induced changes in SOC stocks and leaf litter traits after long-term ecological intensive (e.g. OF) vs. CF comparisons. Our global meta-analysis showed that the positive OF-effects on soil respiration, SOC stocks, and SOC sequestration rates were significant even in organic farms with low manure application rates. Although fertilization intensity was the main driver of OF-effects on SOC, leaf and root N concentrations also played a significant role. Across the six European sites, changes towards higher leaf litter N in CF also promoted lower SOC stocks. Our results highlight that crop species displaying traits indicative of resource-acquisitive strategies (e.g. high leaf and root N) increase the difference in SOC between OF and CF. Indeed, changes towards higher crop residue decomposability was related with decreased SOC stocks under CF across European sites. Synthesis and applications. Our study emphasizes that, with management, changes in crop residue traits contribute to the positive effects of organic farming (OF) on soil carbon sequestration. These results provide a clear message to land managers: the choice of crop species, and more importantly their functional traits (e.g. leave and root nitrogen), should be considered in addition to management practices and climate, when evaluating the potential of OF for climate change mitigation.",
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author = "Pablo Garc{\'i}a-Palacios and Andreas Gattinger and Helene Bracht-J{\o}rgensen and Lijbert Brussaard and Filipe Carvalho and Helena Castro and Cl{\'e}ment, {Jean Christophe} and {De Deyn}, Gerlinde and Tina D'Hertefeldt and Arnaud Foulquier and Katarina Hedlund and Sandra Lavorel and Nicolas Legay and Martina Lori and Paul M{\"a}der and Mart{\'i}nez-Garc{\'i}a, {Laura B.} and {Martins da Silva}, Pedro and Adrian Muller and Eduardo Nascimento and Filipa Reis and Sarah Symanczik and {Paulo Sousa}, Jos{\'e} and Rub{\'e}n Milla",
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García-Palacios, P, Gattinger, A, Bracht-Jørgensen, H, Brussaard, L, Carvalho, F, Castro, H, Clément, JC, De Deyn, G, D'Hertefeldt, T, Foulquier, A, Hedlund, K, Lavorel, S, Legay, N, Lori, M, Mäder, P, Martínez-García, LB, Martins da Silva, P, Muller, A, Nascimento, E, Reis, F, Symanczik, S, Paulo Sousa, J & Milla, R 2018, 'Crop traits drive soil carbon sequestration under organic farming' Journal of Applied Ecology, vol. 55, no. 5, pp. 2496-2505. https://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2664.13113

Crop traits drive soil carbon sequestration under organic farming. / García-Palacios, Pablo; Gattinger, Andreas; Bracht-Jørgensen, Helene; Brussaard, Lijbert; Carvalho, Filipe; Castro, Helena; Clément, Jean Christophe; De Deyn, Gerlinde; D'Hertefeldt, Tina; Foulquier, Arnaud; Hedlund, Katarina; Lavorel, Sandra; Legay, Nicolas; Lori, Martina; Mäder, Paul; Martínez-García, Laura B.; Martins da Silva, Pedro; Muller, Adrian; Nascimento, Eduardo; Reis, Filipa; Symanczik, Sarah; Paulo Sousa, José; Milla, Rubén.

In: Journal of Applied Ecology, Vol. 55, No. 5, 01.09.2018, p. 2496-2505.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Crop traits drive soil carbon sequestration under organic farming

AU - García-Palacios, Pablo

AU - Gattinger, Andreas

AU - Bracht-Jørgensen, Helene

AU - Brussaard, Lijbert

AU - Carvalho, Filipe

AU - Castro, Helena

AU - Clément, Jean Christophe

AU - De Deyn, Gerlinde

AU - D'Hertefeldt, Tina

AU - Foulquier, Arnaud

AU - Hedlund, Katarina

AU - Lavorel, Sandra

AU - Legay, Nicolas

AU - Lori, Martina

AU - Mäder, Paul

AU - Martínez-García, Laura B.

AU - Martins da Silva, Pedro

AU - Muller, Adrian

AU - Nascimento, Eduardo

AU - Reis, Filipa

AU - Symanczik, Sarah

AU - Paulo Sousa, José

AU - Milla, Rubén

PY - 2018/9/1

Y1 - 2018/9/1

N2 - Organic farming (OF) enhances top soil organic carbon (SOC) stocks in croplands compared with conventional farming (CF), which can contribute to sequester C. As farming system differences in the amount of C inputs to soil (e.g. fertilization and crop residues) are not enough to explain such increase, shifts in crop residue traits important for soil C losses such as litter decomposition may also play a role. To assess whether crop residue (leaf and root) traits determined SOC sequestration responses to OF, we coupled a global meta-analysis with field measurements across a European-wide network of sites. In the meta-analysis, we related crop species averages of leaf N, leaf-dry matter content, fine-root C and N, with SOC stocks and sequestration responses in OF vs. CF. Across six European sites, we measured the management-induced changes in SOC stocks and leaf litter traits after long-term ecological intensive (e.g. OF) vs. CF comparisons. Our global meta-analysis showed that the positive OF-effects on soil respiration, SOC stocks, and SOC sequestration rates were significant even in organic farms with low manure application rates. Although fertilization intensity was the main driver of OF-effects on SOC, leaf and root N concentrations also played a significant role. Across the six European sites, changes towards higher leaf litter N in CF also promoted lower SOC stocks. Our results highlight that crop species displaying traits indicative of resource-acquisitive strategies (e.g. high leaf and root N) increase the difference in SOC between OF and CF. Indeed, changes towards higher crop residue decomposability was related with decreased SOC stocks under CF across European sites. Synthesis and applications. Our study emphasizes that, with management, changes in crop residue traits contribute to the positive effects of organic farming (OF) on soil carbon sequestration. These results provide a clear message to land managers: the choice of crop species, and more importantly their functional traits (e.g. leave and root nitrogen), should be considered in addition to management practices and climate, when evaluating the potential of OF for climate change mitigation.

AB - Organic farming (OF) enhances top soil organic carbon (SOC) stocks in croplands compared with conventional farming (CF), which can contribute to sequester C. As farming system differences in the amount of C inputs to soil (e.g. fertilization and crop residues) are not enough to explain such increase, shifts in crop residue traits important for soil C losses such as litter decomposition may also play a role. To assess whether crop residue (leaf and root) traits determined SOC sequestration responses to OF, we coupled a global meta-analysis with field measurements across a European-wide network of sites. In the meta-analysis, we related crop species averages of leaf N, leaf-dry matter content, fine-root C and N, with SOC stocks and sequestration responses in OF vs. CF. Across six European sites, we measured the management-induced changes in SOC stocks and leaf litter traits after long-term ecological intensive (e.g. OF) vs. CF comparisons. Our global meta-analysis showed that the positive OF-effects on soil respiration, SOC stocks, and SOC sequestration rates were significant even in organic farms with low manure application rates. Although fertilization intensity was the main driver of OF-effects on SOC, leaf and root N concentrations also played a significant role. Across the six European sites, changes towards higher leaf litter N in CF also promoted lower SOC stocks. Our results highlight that crop species displaying traits indicative of resource-acquisitive strategies (e.g. high leaf and root N) increase the difference in SOC between OF and CF. Indeed, changes towards higher crop residue decomposability was related with decreased SOC stocks under CF across European sites. Synthesis and applications. Our study emphasizes that, with management, changes in crop residue traits contribute to the positive effects of organic farming (OF) on soil carbon sequestration. These results provide a clear message to land managers: the choice of crop species, and more importantly their functional traits (e.g. leave and root nitrogen), should be considered in addition to management practices and climate, when evaluating the potential of OF for climate change mitigation.

KW - climate change mitigation

KW - crop residue

KW - ecological intensification

KW - leaf nitrogen

KW - meta-analysis

KW - organic farming

KW - resource economics traits

KW - soil carbon stocks

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DO - 10.1111/1365-2664.13113

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SP - 2496

EP - 2505

JO - Journal of Applied Ecology

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SN - 0021-8901

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ER -

García-Palacios P, Gattinger A, Bracht-Jørgensen H, Brussaard L, Carvalho F, Castro H et al. Crop traits drive soil carbon sequestration under organic farming. Journal of Applied Ecology. 2018 Sep 1;55(5):2496-2505. https://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2664.13113