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Soil Research (continuing Australian Journal of Soil Research) is an international journal for publishing research relating to soils in primary production, land and water management, environmental pollution, and remediation. More

Editors-in-Chief: Balwant Singh and Mark Tibbett


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Published online 27 February 2015
Digital mapping of RUSLE slope length and steepness factor across New South Wales, Australia 
Xihua Yang

This study developed automated procedures in a geographic information system to estimate and map the slope length and steepness (LS) factor from ~30 m digital elevation model across New South Wales. The modelled LS factor values were compared with the reference LS values revealing good accuracy (coefficient of efficiency 0.97). The high-resolution digital LS map has been used along with other factors in the revised universal soil loss equation to estimate hillslope erosion hazard across New South Wales.

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Published online 25 February 2015
Carbon dynamics from carbonate dissolution in Australian agricultural soils 
Waqar Ahmad, Balwant Singh, Ram C. Dalal and Feike A. Dijkstra

Data are scarce on the estimates of CaCO3 stocks in Australia, effect of land-use management practices on these stocks, and there is a lack of understanding on the fate of CO2 released from carbonates. We estimated carbonate stocks from four major soil types (Calcarosols, Vertosols, Kandosols and Chromosols) and provide a baseline to assess potential CO2 emission–sequestration through land-use changes. An overview of uncertainties in accounting for CO2 emission from major inorganic C transformations in soils.

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Published online 25 February 2015
KMnO4 determination of active carbon for laboratory routines: three long-term field experiments in Austria 
M. Tatzber, N. Schlatter, A. Baumgarten, G. Dersch, R. Körner, T. Lehtinen, G. Unger, E. Mifek and H. Spiegel

The determination of the active carbon (AC)-pool has been shown to reflect influences of soil management systems on soil organic matter pools quite well. This contribution combines the method for AC-determination with an alternative titration of the 0.02 M KMnO4 solution with Na2C2O4. Three long-term field experiments (first: 14C-label and different cropping systems; second: different tillage treatments; third: different kinds of compost-amendments) were investigated and the results showed the high potential of this methodology for sensitive and reliable detections of differences in SOM characteristics.

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Published online 25 February 2015
Soil organic carbon fractions under conventional and no-till management in a long-term study in southern Spain 
R. Carbonell-Bojollo, E. J. González-Sánchez, M. Repullo Ruibérriz de Torres, R. Ordóñez-Fernández, J. Domínguez-Gimenez and G. Basch

This study compares the viability of no-till farming (NT) with conventional (traditional) tillage (TT) for improving SOC levels. The results indicate that the NT method is particularly beneficial for improving the quality of agricultural soil. The lower spatial and temporal variability of SOC content, including labile and recalcitrant C forms, observed in TT soil indicates a homogenisation of the soil profile and a more modified structure than in NT soil. The NT system improved the levels of the different fractions of C in the surface soil and reduced the amount of CO2 released into the atmosphere.

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Published online 25 February 2015
Eucalyptus reforestation induces soil water repellency 
L. L. Walden, R. J. Harper, D. S. Mendham, D. J. Henry and J. B. Fontaine

Water repellency increased in the 5–8 years following reforestation with Eucalyptus globulus in a study of 31 paired sites (pasture v. plantation) across the south-west of Western Australia. There were no differences in other soil characteristics between pairs, including soil organic carbon content or composition suggesting induction by small amounts of hydrophobic compounds from the trees. Modelling revealed marked differences in the layering and packing of waxes on kaolinite and quartz surfaces, indicating the importance of interfacial interactions in the development of soil water repellency.

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Published online 24 February 2015
Increased profile wettability in texture-contrast soils from clay delving: case studies in South Australia 
Giacomo Betti, Cameron Grant, Gordon Churchman and Robert Murray

We quantified the effects of clay-delving (which disrupts the A-B horizon boundary and adds clay to the sandy rootzone) on water distribution through the profile of texture-contrast soils using a soluble blue dye to enhance digital images. Profile wetting was highly variable but clay delving effectively reduced finger flow and ponding at the A–B horizon boundary. It also induced deeper and more uniform wetting of both A and B horizons. Effects diminished with distance from the delving line.

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Published online 24 February 2015
Temporal variability in soil quality after organic residue application in mature oil palm plantations 
M. P. Carron, M. Pierrat, D. Snoeck, C. Villenave, F. Ribeyre, Suhardi, R. Marichal and J. P. Caliman

The temporal effect of organic waste recycling on soil biodiversity was studied during 24 months. The findings highlighted a first disturbance period (0–6 months) showing a marked increase in pH, potassium content, base saturation and macrofauna abundance, especially ants, whereas earthworm, millipede and nematode populations were substantially reduced. A resilience period (6–18 months) led to a final period (18–24 months) showing an improvement in most soil fertility parameters and a high density of earthworms

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Published online 24 February 2015
Soil aeration affects the degradation rate of the nitrification inhibitor dicyandiamide 
N. Balaine, T. J. Clough, F. M. Kelliher and C. van Koten

Studies determining the influence of soil aeration on dicyandiamide (DCD) degradation rates are sparse. DCD degradation rates were measured under controlled soil aeration conditions by maintaining soil cores at different matric potential levels. The study shows that soil aeration determines DCD degradation rates in soil which has implications for designing optimal DCD utilisation strategies.

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Published online 06 February 2015
Modelling and mapping rainfall erosivity in New South Wales, Australia 
Xihua Yang and Bofu Yu

This paper presents an improved daily rainfall erosivity model to estimate monthly and annual rainfall erosivity in New South Wales for over 50 years with high accuracy. The model has been implemented in a geographic information system using automated scripts for efficiency and portability. This study provide the baseline information and up-to-date estimates of rainfall erosivity and hillslope erosion for better monitoring, assessment, and mitigation of hillslope erosion risk in NSW.

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Published online 06 February 2015
Landscape scale survey of indicators of soil health in grazing systems 
K. M. Damsma, M. T. Rose and T. R. Cavagnaro

A broad-scale survey of soil biological and chemical properties were measured across pasture-based grazing systems in south-eastern Victoria. Soil properties were highly variable among pasture sites and biological properties were difficult to predict, but some patterns were evident. The findings of this survey provide baseline information on the landscape scale for commonly used indicators of soil health

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Volume 53 Number 1 2015

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The ameliorating effects of biochar and compost on soil quality and plant growth on a Ferralsol 
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Getachew Agegnehu , Michael I. Bird , Paul N. Nelson and Adrian M. Bass
pp. 1-12

A pot experiment was conducted to test the hypothesis that application of biochar and compost improve soil fertility and plant growth. Application of compost with fertiliser significantly increased plant growth, soil nutrient status and plant nutrient concentration. Maize shoot biomass was significantly correlated with chlorophyll content, root biomass, plant height, and specific leaf weight. Compost and biochar additions significantly reduced leaching of nutrients, improved the retention of water and nutrients by the soil and thereby uptake by the plants.


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Wildfire effects on soil carbon and water repellency under eucalyptus forest in Eastern Australia 
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Jessica T. Heath , Chris J. Chafer , Thomas F. A. Bishop and Floris F. Van Ogtrop
pp. 13-23

This paper examines the impacts of wildfire on soil carbon and water repellency across two different landscapes, located in eastern Australia. Samples were taken over a 36 month period post-wildfire. The burn severity of the wildfire had a significant effect on soil carbon and water repellency at both study sites. The relationship between soil carbon and water repellency was stronger at the site located on a floodplain, as opposed to site located in mountainous terrain.


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Pragmatic models for the prediction and digital mapping of soil properties in eastern Australia 
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Jonathan M. Gray , Thomas F. A. Bishop and Xihua Yang
pp. 24-42

Digital soil modelling and mapping provides an efficient means of obtaining detailed soil information for many natural resource and environmental applications. This study developed pragmatic quantitative models and maps covering key soil properties of organic carbon, pH, major nutrients, particle sizes and others across eastern Australia. The products can be readily applied using field data alone, are easily interpreted and provide valuable insights into soil formation and distribution across eastern Australia and beyond.


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Genesis of cohesive soil horizons from north-east Brazil: role of argilluviation and sorting of sand 
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C. E. E. Bezerra , T. O. Ferreira , R. E. Romero , J. C. A. Mota , J. M. Vieira , L. R. S. Duarte and M. Cooper
pp. 43-55

The Coastal Tablelands represent a region of great social and economic importance in Brazil. Despite its importance for the national agroeconomy, Coastal Tableland soils exhibit a natural, singular agricultural limitation, namely dense soil layers referred to locally as cohesive soils. However their formation still remains controversial. This study present evidences that the formation of cohesive horizons may be partially inherited from the original sediment by the predominance of poorly sorted sand particles, which increase the cohesion of these soil horizons.


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Evidence of prehistoric wind erosion of the Mackenzie Basin, South Island, New Zealand: an assessment based on 137Cs and Kawakawa-Oruanui tephra 
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H. D. Leckie and P. C. Almond
pp. 56-66

The subhumid alpine region of Mackenzie Basin, New Zealand, is of national importance for tourism, landscape values, and primary production. In this study, 137Cs and a tephra serve as tracers for soil redistribution over historic (54 year) and long (25 ky) timescales. We show that vegetation depletion, invasion of exotic Hieracium sp. and bare ground are not necessarily indicators of present erosion status, and that a long history of erosion has predisposed soil and vegetation degradation within the European era.


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Use of handheld mid-infrared spectroscopy and partial least-squares regression for the prediction of the phosphorus buffering index in Australian soils 
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Sean T. Forrester , Les J. Janik , José M. Soriano-Disla , Sean Mason , Lucy Burkitt , Phil Moody , Cameron J. P. Gourley and Michael J. McLaughlin
pp. 67-80

Australian soils are often inherently low in phosphorus (P), and P fertilisers are applied to soils to address agronomic targets. Differences in the retention of P by soils, measured by the P buffer index (PBI), influence cost, production and environmental consequences of P fertiliser decisions. We provide a rapid spectroscopic method, using bench-top and handheld mid-infrared instrumentation, for the prediction of PBI.


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Binding of water-extractable organic carbon to clay subsoil: effects of clay subsoil properties 
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Shinhuey Lim , Trung-Ta Nguyen and Petra Marschner
pp. 81-86

A batch sorption experiment was conducted using seven clay subsoils with different concentrations of water-extractable organic C (WEOC; 0 - 9.0 g WEOC kg–1 soil). WEOC sorption was positively correlated with clay content, specific surface area (SSA) and concentration of iron oxides. WEOC sorption was negatively correlated with total organic C content, sodium absorption ratio and cation ratio of soil structural stability. However, the relative importance of these properties for WEOC sorption differed among soils.


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Soil organic carbon and nitrogen losses due to soil erosion and cropping in a sloping terrace landscape 
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J. H. Zhang , Y. Wang and F. C. Li
pp. 87-96

SOC and TN concentrations in the surface soil were significantly higher on uncultivated than on cultivated land, but there were no significant differences in those of subsoils between them. SOC and TN inventories exhibited an increasing trend from the upper to toe parts of cultivated toposequences, and were associated with 137Cs inventories. Our results suggest that soil erosion and cropping result in SOC and N losses, and that soil erosion contributes to marked variations in SOC and N distribution.


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Spatial decoupling of soil nitrogen cycling in an arid chenopod pattern ground 
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B. C. T. Macdonald , S. Warneke , E. Maïson , G. McLachlan and M. Farrell
pp. 97-104

This study focuses on the distinct features of the nitrogen (N) and carbon (C) cycle in intergrove and grove areas of chenopod pattern-ground soils of the Australian rangelands. In grove soils, denitrification including emission of N2O dominated the N cycle, whereas in intergrove soils, abiotic N2O uptake is the sole fate of atmospheric N2O. There was partitioning of key biogeochemical processes between the intergrove and grove soils, which results in a spatially decoupled soil N and C cycle in arid chenopod, pattern-ground ecosystems.


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Chemical forms of cadmium in a calcareous soil treated with different levels of phosphorus-containing acidifying agents 
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Chunfa Wu , Shihong Yan , Haibo Zhang and Yongming Luo
pp. 105-111

Calcareous soils were treated with three concentrations of mono-ammonium phosphate (MAP) and phosphoric acid. The results showed that MAP may promote the same amount of cadmium (Cd) in the form bound to iron and manganese oxides to exchangeable Cd as phosphoric acid at the same rate of addition, but the soil pH clearly differed, implying that an increase in water-soluble P with addition of acidifying agent may be one major factor affecting the chemical transformation of Cd.


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These articles have been peer reviewed and accepted for publication. They are still in production and have not been edited, so may differ from the final published form.

    SR14309  Accepted 24 February 2015
    Effects of thinning on soil respiration and microbial respiration of forest floor and soil in oak (Quercus frainetto Ten.) forest
    Serdar Akburak, Ender Makineci

    SR14268  Accepted 13 February 2015
    80-metre Resolution 3D Soil Attribute Maps for Tasmania, Australia
    Darren Kidd, Mathew Webb, Brendan Malone, Budiman Minasnay, Alex McBratney

    SR14171  Accepted 10 February 2015
    Optimizing the extraction of amorphous silica by NaOH from soils of temperate-humid climate
    Anna Georgiadis, Daniela Sauer, Jörn Breuer, Ludger Herrmann, Thilo Rennert, Karl Stahr

    SR14163  Accepted 11 February 2015
    Trace elements in road-deposited and water bed sediments in Kogarah Bay of Sydney, Australia: Enrichment, sources, and fractionation
    T Nguyen, Paripurnanda Loganathan, T Nguyen, Thi Pham, Jaya Kandasamy, Michael Wu, Ravi Naidu, S Vigneswaran

    SR14252  Accepted 08 February 2015
    Grassland soil C and N stocks under temperate livestock grazing
    Junfang Cui, Mohammad Askari, Nicholas Holden

    SR14207  Accepted 04 February 2015
    Soil texture controls vegetation biomass and organic carbon storage in arid desert grassland in the middle of Hexi Corridor region in northwest China
    Yong-Zhong Su

    SR14365  Accepted 03 February 2015
    Changes in characteristics of soils irrigated with processing water from three New Zealand dairy factories
    Graham Sparling, Ray Littler, Louis Schipper, Bryan Stevenson, Lilian Sherman, John Russell

    SR14196  Accepted 04 February 2015
    Land management within capability: a new scheme to guide sustainable land management in New South Wales, Australia
    Jonathan Gray, Greg Chapman, Brian Murphy

    SR14173  Accepted 02 February 2015
    Soil organic matter loss following cultivation of long-term pasture: effects on major exchangeable cations and cation exchange capacity
    Dennis Curtin, Trish Fraser, Mike Beare

    SR13325  Accepted 02 February 2015
    Long-term olive mill waste water application affects soil chemical and microbial properties
    Victor Kavvadias, Maria Doula, Maria Papadopoulou, Sideris Theocharopoulos

    SR14287  Accepted 29 January 2015
    The effects of soluble organic carbon addition on CH4 and CO2 emissions from paddy soils regulated by iron reduction processes
    Qi Peng, Muhammad Shaaban, Ronggui Hu, Yongliang Mo, Yupeng Wu, Bashir Ullah

    SR14256  Accepted 29 January 2015
    Soil fertility characterization of teak (Tectona grandis L.f.) plantations in Central America
    Jesús Fernández-Moya, ALFREDO ALVARADO, Rafael Mata, Helga Thiele, Jose Manuel Segura, Edwin Vaides, Alfonso San Miguel-Ayanz, Miguel Marchamalo-Sacristán

    SR14324  Accepted 25 January 2015
    Heavy metal soil pollution is influenced by the location of green spaces within urban settings
    Fiona Curran-Courname, Gavin Lear, Luitgard Schwendenmann, Jade Khin

    SR14261  Accepted 25 January 2015
    Impact of straw returning in winter fallow in Chinese rice fields on greenhouse gas emissions: evidences from an incubation study
    Yupeng Wu, Tian Liu, Qi-an Peng, Muhammad Shaaban, Ronggui Hu

    SR14062  Accepted 22 January 2015
    Soil carbon sequestration in cool temperate dryland pastures: mechanisms and management options
    Alieta Eyles, Garth Coghlan, Marcus Hardie, Mark Hovenden, Kerry Bridle

    SR14165  Accepted 21 January 2015
    Mobility in soil and availability to triticale plants of copper fertilizers
    Demetrio Gonzalez, Patricia Almendros, Jose Alvarez

    SR14258  Accepted 20 January 2015
    Weighting the differential water capacity to account for declining hydraulic conductivity in a drying coarse-textured soil
    Cameron Grant, Pieter Groenevelt

    SR14241  Accepted 13 January 2015
    100 Years of superphosphate addition to pasture in an acid soil – current nutrient status and future management.
    Cassanda Schefe, Kirsten Barlow, Nathan Robinson, Doug Crawford, Timothy McLaren, Ronald Smernik, George Croatto, Ronald Walsh, Matt Kitching

    SR14334  Accepted 09 January 2015
    Phosphorus fractions in soils of the mangrove, restinga and Atlantic forest ecosystems from Cardoso Island, Brazil
    Breno Pupin, Ely Nahas

    SR14140  Accepted 06 January 2015
    Response of soil enzyme activity to warming and nitrogen addition in a meadow steppe
    Shiwei Gong, Tao Zhang, Rui Guo, Hongbin Cao, Lianxuan Shi, Jixun Guo, Wei Sun

    SR12049  Accepted 17 December 2014
    Response of soil nitrous oxide flux to nitrogen fertiliser application and legume rotation in a semi-arid climate, identified by smoothing spline models.
    Sally Officer, Frances Phillips, Gavin Kearney, Roger Armstrong, John Graham, Debra Partington

    SR14264  Accepted 11 December 2014
    Preferential flow paths in two alluvial soils with long-term pig slurry additions in the Mediterranean zone in Chile
    Ignacio Fuentes, Manuel Casanova, Oscar Seguel, José Padarian, Francisco Nájera, Osvaldo Salazar

    SR14217  Accepted 12 December 2014
    Impact of temperature and moisture on heterotrophic soil respiration along a moist tropical forest gradient in Australia
    Michael Zimmermann, Michael Bird, Kalu Davies, Valery de Zimmermann

    SR14195  Accepted 08 December 2014
    Soil morphological and chemical profiles adjacent to a bore drain in south-western Queensland, Australia
    Andrew Biggs, Peter Binns

    SR14113  Accepted 08 December 2014
    Effects of slope position, aspect and cropping system on soil nutrients variability in hilly areas
    Y Gou, H Chen, Wei Wu, Hong-Bin Liu

    SR14216  Accepted 02 December 2014
    Changes in the soil quality attributes of continuous no-till farming systems following a strategic tillage
    Mark Crawford, Vivian Rincon-Florez, Anna Balzer, Yash Dang, Lilia Carvalhais, Hongwei Liu, Peer Schenk

    SR14234  Accepted 24 November 2014
    Assessment of tillage effects on soil quality of pastures in South Africa with indexing methods
    Pieter Swanepoel, Christiaan du Preez, Philippus Botha, Hennie Snyman, Johan Habig

    SR14227  Accepted 28 October 2014
    Effect of cropping practices on soil organic carbon – evidence from long-term field experiments in Victoria, Australia
    Fiona Robertson, Roger Armstrong, Debra Partington, Roger Perris, Ivanah Oliver, Colin Aumann, Doug Crawford, David Rees

    SR14090  Accepted 15 August 2014
    Salinity-induced differences in soil microbial communities around the hypersaline Lake Urmia
    Mohsen Barin, Nasser Aliasgharzad, Pal-Axel Olsson, MirHassan Rasouli- Sadeghiani


The Most Read ranking is based on the number of downloads from the CSIRO PUBLISHING website of articles published in the previous 12 months. Usage statistics are updated daily.

Rank Paper Details
1. Published 9 April 2014
The biochar dilemma

A. Mukherjee and R. Lal

2. Published 1 May 2014
Estimating change in soil organic carbon using legacy data as the baseline: issues, approaches and lessons to learn

S. B. Karunaratne, T. F. A. Bishop, I. O. A. Odeh, J. A. Baldock and B. P. Marchant

3. Published 25 November 2014
Opportunities and constraints for biochar technology in Australian agriculture: looking beyond carbon sequestration

Balwant Singh, Lynne M. Macdonald, Rai S. Kookana, Lukas van Zwieten, Greg Butler, Stephen Joseph, Anthony Weatherley, Bhawana B. Kaudal, Andrew Regan, Julie Cattle, Feike Dijkstra, Mark Boersma, Stephen Kimber, Alexander Keith and Maryam Esfandbod

4. Published 21 March 2014
Influence of lime and gypsum on long-term rehabilitation of a Red Sodosol, in a semi-arid environment of New South Wales

J. McL. Bennett, R. S. B. Greene, B. W. Murphy, P. Hocking and D. Tongway

5. Published 1 May 2014
Amending soil with sludge, manure, humic acid, orthophosphate and phytic acid: effects on aggregate stability

A. I. Mamedov, B. Bar-Yosef, I. Levkovich, R. Rosenberg, A. Silber, P. Fine and G. J. Levy

6. Published 10 October 2014
A review of nitrogen losses due to leaching and surface runoff under intensive pasture management in Australia

Lucy L. Burkitt

7. Published 26 June 2014
Potential soil organic carbon stock and its uncertainty under various cropping systems in Australian cropland

Zhongkui Luo, Enli Wang, Jeff Baldock and Hongtao Xing

8. Published 21 March 2014
Digital mapping of a soil drainage index for irrigated enterprise suitability in Tasmania, Australia

D. B. Kidd, B. P. Malone, A. B. McBratney, B. Minasny and M. A. Webb

9. Published 21 March 2014
Soil potassium relationships, uptake efficiency and availability for six distinctive soils in central and southern New South Wales, Australia

Jonathan Holland, Mark Conyers, Beverley Orchard and Graeme Poile

10. Published 26 June 2014
Determination of carbonate-C in biochars

Tao Wang, Marta Camps-Arbestain, Mike Hedley, Bhupinder Pal Singh, Roberto Calvelo-Pereira and Congying Wang

11. Published 1 May 2014
Effects of soil structural properties on saturated hydraulic conductivity under different land-use types

Yanli Jiang and Ming'an Shao

12. Published 26 June 2014
A combined equation to estimate the soil pore-water electrical conductivity: calibration with the WET and 5TE sensors

Fernando Visconti, Delfina Martínez, María José Molina, Florencio Ingelmo and José Miguel de Paz

13. Published 21 March 2014
Effect of ageing on surface charge characteristics and adsorption behaviour of cadmium and arsenate in two contrasting soils amended with biochar

Chamali Laksala Nagodavithane, Balwant Singh and Yunying Fang

14. Published 27 August 2014
Least-limiting water range of the soil seedbed submitted to mechanical and biological chiselling under no-till

O. Guedes Filho, A. P. da Silva, N. F. B. Giarola and C. A. Tormena

15. Published 1 May 2014
Digital soil mapping of a coastal acid sulfate soil landscape

Jingyi Huang, Terence Nhan, Vanessa N. L. Wong, Scott G. Johnston, R. Murray Lark and John Triantafilis

16. Published 26 June 2014
Uncertainty analysis for large-scale prediction of the van Genuchten soil-water retention parameters with pedotransfer functions

K. Liao, S. Xu, J. Wu and Q. Zhu

17. Published 9 April 2014
Decrease in phosphorus concentrations when P fertiliser application is reduced or omitted from grazed pasture soils

Jessica Coad, Lucy Burkitt, Warwick Dougherty and Leigh Sparrow

18. Published 26 June 2014
Manganese oxidation and reduction in soils: effects of temperature, water potential, pH and their interactions

L. A. Sparrow and N. C. Uren

19. Published 27 August 2014
Impact of organic soil amendments, including poultry-litter biochar, on nematodes in a Riverina, New South Wales, vineyard

L. Rahman, M. A. Whitelaw-Weckert and B. Orchard

20. Published 1 May 2014
Changes in microbial biomass C, extractable C and available N during the early stages of decomposition of residue mixtures

Andong Shi and Petra Marschner

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