It depends:

effects of soil organic matter in aboveground-belowground interactions in agro-ecosystems

Stijn Herman van Gils

Research output: Thesisinternal PhD, WU

Abstract

Over the last decades agricultural production increased drastically due to the use of external inputs. However, the use of external inputs has high environmental costs and may negatively influence ecosystem processes such as pollination and pest control that underpin agricultural production. Soil organic matter has been proposed as a potential alternative to external inputs as it relates to multiple yield promoting ecosystem processes. The aim of my thesis is to assess whether and how soil organic matter content alters the effect of some ecosystem processes and external inputs on crop yield. I examined whether soil organic matter alters biomass of wheat and oilseed rape under fertilizer supply. Other biotic and abiotic factors that operate at different spatial and temporal scales are also included in some of these experiments. I found that under controlled conditions soil organic matter may reduce the positive effect of mineral fertilizer supply on crop biomass. The reduction changed with the presence or absence of a pathogenic root fungus, but not with drought stress. Moreover, soil organic matter enhances performance of aphids under controlled greenhouse conditions, but the enhancement was less than fertilizer supply. None of these controlled experiments, however, showed that soil organic matter can be an alternative to mineral fertilizer supply. Under field conditions soil organic matter did not strongly affect plant nutrient availability or performances of aphid and its natural enemies. The relation between soil organic matter and plant biomass in a greenhouse experiment did not change with organic management or the duration of it, neither did it change with pollinator visitation rate, an ecosystem process that is managed on the landscape scale. These results suggest that soil organic matter may relate to ecosystem services that influence crop yield, whereas these relations might not be significant under field conditions. Collectively, all these results suggest that the relation between soil organic matter content and ecosystem processes that benefit crop yield is highly context dependent. I propose future research may focus on (1) the quality of soil organic matter rather than the content per se and (2) the relation between soil organic matter content and crop yield under realistic conditions in a longer term.

Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Wageningen University
Supervisors/Advisors
  • van der Putten, Wim, Promotor
  • Kleijn, David, Promotor
Award date13 Sep 2017
Place of PublicationWageningen
Publisher
Print ISBNs9789463436526
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Fingerprint

soil organic matter
ecosystems
crop yield
mineral fertilizers
Aphidoidea
fertilizers
agriculture
biomass
pest control
greenhouse experimentation
pollinators
ecosystem services
nutrient availability
natural enemies
Brassica napus
pollination
water stress
greenhouses
wheat
environmental factors

Keywords

  • soil organic matter
  • agroecosystems
  • aphidoidea
  • fertilizers
  • wheat
  • rape
  • crop yield
  • ecosystem services
  • nutrient availability
  • pest control
  • organic farming

Cite this

van Gils, Stijn Herman. / It depends: effects of soil organic matter in aboveground-belowground interactions in agro-ecosystems. Wageningen : Wageningen University, 2017. 176 p.
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abstract = "Over the last decades agricultural production increased drastically due to the use of external inputs. However, the use of external inputs has high environmental costs and may negatively influence ecosystem processes such as pollination and pest control that underpin agricultural production. Soil organic matter has been proposed as a potential alternative to external inputs as it relates to multiple yield promoting ecosystem processes. The aim of my thesis is to assess whether and how soil organic matter content alters the effect of some ecosystem processes and external inputs on crop yield. I examined whether soil organic matter alters biomass of wheat and oilseed rape under fertilizer supply. Other biotic and abiotic factors that operate at different spatial and temporal scales are also included in some of these experiments. I found that under controlled conditions soil organic matter may reduce the positive effect of mineral fertilizer supply on crop biomass. The reduction changed with the presence or absence of a pathogenic root fungus, but not with drought stress. Moreover, soil organic matter enhances performance of aphids under controlled greenhouse conditions, but the enhancement was less than fertilizer supply. None of these controlled experiments, however, showed that soil organic matter can be an alternative to mineral fertilizer supply. Under field conditions soil organic matter did not strongly affect plant nutrient availability or performances of aphid and its natural enemies. The relation between soil organic matter and plant biomass in a greenhouse experiment did not change with organic management or the duration of it, neither did it change with pollinator visitation rate, an ecosystem process that is managed on the landscape scale. These results suggest that soil organic matter may relate to ecosystem services that influence crop yield, whereas these relations might not be significant under field conditions. Collectively, all these results suggest that the relation between soil organic matter content and ecosystem processes that benefit crop yield is highly context dependent. I propose future research may focus on (1) the quality of soil organic matter rather than the content per se and (2) the relation between soil organic matter content and crop yield under realistic conditions in a longer term.",
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It depends: effects of soil organic matter in aboveground-belowground interactions in agro-ecosystems. / van Gils, Stijn Herman.

Wageningen : Wageningen University, 2017. 176 p.

Research output: Thesisinternal PhD, WU

TY - THES

T1 - It depends:

T2 - effects of soil organic matter in aboveground-belowground interactions in agro-ecosystems

AU - van Gils, Stijn Herman

N1 - WU thesis 6750 Includes bibliographical references. - With summaries in Dutch and English

PY - 2017

Y1 - 2017

N2 - Over the last decades agricultural production increased drastically due to the use of external inputs. However, the use of external inputs has high environmental costs and may negatively influence ecosystem processes such as pollination and pest control that underpin agricultural production. Soil organic matter has been proposed as a potential alternative to external inputs as it relates to multiple yield promoting ecosystem processes. The aim of my thesis is to assess whether and how soil organic matter content alters the effect of some ecosystem processes and external inputs on crop yield. I examined whether soil organic matter alters biomass of wheat and oilseed rape under fertilizer supply. Other biotic and abiotic factors that operate at different spatial and temporal scales are also included in some of these experiments. I found that under controlled conditions soil organic matter may reduce the positive effect of mineral fertilizer supply on crop biomass. The reduction changed with the presence or absence of a pathogenic root fungus, but not with drought stress. Moreover, soil organic matter enhances performance of aphids under controlled greenhouse conditions, but the enhancement was less than fertilizer supply. None of these controlled experiments, however, showed that soil organic matter can be an alternative to mineral fertilizer supply. Under field conditions soil organic matter did not strongly affect plant nutrient availability or performances of aphid and its natural enemies. The relation between soil organic matter and plant biomass in a greenhouse experiment did not change with organic management or the duration of it, neither did it change with pollinator visitation rate, an ecosystem process that is managed on the landscape scale. These results suggest that soil organic matter may relate to ecosystem services that influence crop yield, whereas these relations might not be significant under field conditions. Collectively, all these results suggest that the relation between soil organic matter content and ecosystem processes that benefit crop yield is highly context dependent. I propose future research may focus on (1) the quality of soil organic matter rather than the content per se and (2) the relation between soil organic matter content and crop yield under realistic conditions in a longer term.

AB - Over the last decades agricultural production increased drastically due to the use of external inputs. However, the use of external inputs has high environmental costs and may negatively influence ecosystem processes such as pollination and pest control that underpin agricultural production. Soil organic matter has been proposed as a potential alternative to external inputs as it relates to multiple yield promoting ecosystem processes. The aim of my thesis is to assess whether and how soil organic matter content alters the effect of some ecosystem processes and external inputs on crop yield. I examined whether soil organic matter alters biomass of wheat and oilseed rape under fertilizer supply. Other biotic and abiotic factors that operate at different spatial and temporal scales are also included in some of these experiments. I found that under controlled conditions soil organic matter may reduce the positive effect of mineral fertilizer supply on crop biomass. The reduction changed with the presence or absence of a pathogenic root fungus, but not with drought stress. Moreover, soil organic matter enhances performance of aphids under controlled greenhouse conditions, but the enhancement was less than fertilizer supply. None of these controlled experiments, however, showed that soil organic matter can be an alternative to mineral fertilizer supply. Under field conditions soil organic matter did not strongly affect plant nutrient availability or performances of aphid and its natural enemies. The relation between soil organic matter and plant biomass in a greenhouse experiment did not change with organic management or the duration of it, neither did it change with pollinator visitation rate, an ecosystem process that is managed on the landscape scale. These results suggest that soil organic matter may relate to ecosystem services that influence crop yield, whereas these relations might not be significant under field conditions. Collectively, all these results suggest that the relation between soil organic matter content and ecosystem processes that benefit crop yield is highly context dependent. I propose future research may focus on (1) the quality of soil organic matter rather than the content per se and (2) the relation between soil organic matter content and crop yield under realistic conditions in a longer term.

KW - soil organic matter

KW - agroecosystems

KW - aphidoidea

KW - fertilizers

KW - wheat

KW - rape

KW - crop yield

KW - ecosystem services

KW - nutrient availability

KW - pest control

KW - organic farming

KW - organisch bodemmateriaal

KW - agro-ecosystemen

KW - aphidoidea

KW - kunstmeststoffen

KW - tarwe

KW - koolzaad

KW - gewasopbrengst

KW - ecosysteemdiensten

KW - voedingsstoffenbeschikbaarheid

KW - plagenbestrijding

KW - biologische landbouw

U2 - 10.18174/420734

DO - 10.18174/420734

M3 - internal PhD, WU

SN - 9789463436526

PB - Wageningen University

CY - Wageningen

ER -