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Soil Research

Soil Research

Soil Research is an international journal for publishing research about fundamental and applied aspects of soil science. Read more about the journalMore

Editors-in-Chief: Balwant Singh and Mark Tibbett

Current Issue

Soil Research

Volume 55 Number 4 2017

Review of soil data in government databases in Australia has identified many data quality issues. These issues, coupled with a lack of quality coding systems, limit the efficient and effective use of the data. The solutions we propose should form the beginning of a long-term goal of improving the quality of soil data in Australia.

SR16177Prediction of soil properties by using geographically weighted regression at a regional scale

Xing Tan, Peng-Tao Guo, Wei Wu, Mao-Fen Li and Hong-Bin Liu
pp. 318-331

Spatial distribution of soil properties provides essential information for ecological modelling, environmental prediction, precision agriculture, and natural resources management, as well as land-use planning. The aim of the study was to predict spatial distribution of soil properties based on environmental variables by using geographically weighted regression. The model could deal with varying relationships between soil properties and environmental variables and its performance was improved by reducing spatial autocorrelation in model residuals.

SR16218Suboptimal fertilisation compromises soil physical properties of a hard-setting sandy loam

Johannes Lund Jensen, Per Schjønning, Bent T. Christensen and Lars Juhl Munkholm
pp. 332-340

Fertilisation affects key soil physical properties related to soil tilth. We studied several soil physical properties after 120 years of contrasting fertiliser rate and type and found that crop-yield-optimised rates of mineral fertiliser appear to sustain soil physical properties almost as well as manure, whereas long-term suboptimal fertilisation compromises soil physical properties. Thus, the results illustrate the importance of ensuring an optimal crop growth to sustain soil physical properties.

Most soils used for crop production in Western Australia are acidic, and ameliorating acid soils with lime can change the requirement for fertilisers by crops. The present study showed that a lime-induced reduction in aluminium toxicity reduced the amount of fertiliser P required at one site and a lime-induced potassium deficiency constrained the response to P fertiliser at another site. Grain producers may need to adjust phosphorus and potassium fertiliser application after liming to maximise productivity.

SR16106Characterisation of soil organic matter in a semi-arid fluvic Entisol fertilised with cattle manure and/or gliricidia by spectroscopic methods

Dário C. Primo, Rômulo S. C. Menezes, Wilson T. L. Silva, Fabio F. Oliveira, José C. B. D. Júnior and Everardo V. S. B. Sampaio
pp. 354-362

The effects of manure and/or gliricidia on soil organic matter were examined. High-quality, N-rich organic fertilizers reduced the more labile matter organic of soil. The techniques tested were good indicators of soil organic matter quality in our site.

Soil organic carbon loss is an important process for C cycle studies, which may contribute to various disciplines. The current study area is at risk owing to hilly topography, soil conditions facilitating water erosion and inappropriate agricultural practices such as excessive soil tillage and cultivation of steep lands – this makes the area typical of Mediterranean environment. Thus, this study will be a guideline for similar future studies in the Mediterranean region as well as other parts of the world.

SR16205Climatically driven change in soil carbon across a basalt landscape is restricted to non-agricultural land use systems

Brian R. Wilson, Dacre King, Ivor Growns and Manoharan Veeragathipillai
pp. 376-388

Additional soil organic carbon (SOC) can potentially mitigate climate change; however, our estimates of SOC change remain uncertain owing to natural change through time. We examined land use systems across northern NSW to quantify changes in SOC in 2008–11. No SOC change was detected under agricultural systems; however, non-agricultural (native woodland) systems showed a significant SOC increase in response to high rainfall in 2010–11. We conclude that SOC has natural variability and responds rapidly to rainfall; however, this change is moderated by agricultural activity.

Prediction of the required draft force of tillage implements is important for designing an efficient machine. In the present study, an analytical model was developed to calculate draft force of a winged subsoiler based on soil mechanics and dynamics laws. The findings indicate that the model developed herein is able to predict the draft force of the machine if the required parameters of soil, machine, and working state are known.

SR16174Storage and spatial patterns of organic carbon of soil profiles in Guangdong Province, China

Huihua Zhang, Junjian Chen, Zhifeng Wu, Dingqiang Li and Li Zhu
pp. 401-411

Soil is the largest land-based reservoir of carbon on Earth; it is important for mitigating global warming and extreme weather. Subsoil organic carbon storage is approximately two-fold greater than that of A horizon soils. Thus, the results about spatial distribution and storage of subsoil carbon can provide useful information for estimating global carbon cycle rationally.

Online Early

The peer-reviewed and edited version of record published online before inclusion in an issue

Published online 18 August 2017

SR17035Modelling reduced coastal eutrophication with increased crop yields in Chinese agriculture

Ang A. Li, Maryna M. Strokal, Zhaohai Z. H. Bai, Carolien C. Kroeze, Lin L. Ma and Fusuo F. S. Zhang

Chinese agriculture is challenged by the need to feed 1.3 billion people while reducing environmental pollution. Currently, losses of synthetic fertiliser and animal manure to the environment are high. ‘Double High Agriculture’ (DHA) is a form of agriculture assuming that food can be produced at a lower environmental cost. DHA can be combined with recycling of animal manure back to arable lands, which will lead to lower nutrient enrichment in Chinese seas. Herein we model the environmental benefits in terms of coastal eutrophication that can be achieved by implementing such changes in the future.

Published online 18 August 2017

SR16328Experimental validation of a new approach for rice fertiliser recommendations across smallholder farms in China

Fuqiang Yang, Xinpeng Xu, Jinchuan Ma, Ping He, Mirasol F. Pampolino and Wei Zhou

Inappropriate fertiliser applications have caused a series of environmental problems and threaten the sustainable production of rice in China. Nutrient Expert, a new scientific approach for rice fertiliser recommendation, was proved that it could balance nutrient application and improve grain yield, nutrient uptake, and fertiliser use efficiency under field conditions in the main rice-growing regions of China. And it could be used as a practicable tool to make fertiliser recommendation for rice.

This study showed that emissions of the greenhouse gas, nitrous oxide, from celery cropping are amongst the highest recorded globally. These emissions, however, could be dramatically lowered by using a nitrification inhibitor, particularly when applied on manures. This provides growers with an excellent cropping practice to reduce the negative effect of excess nitrogen on the environment and to avoid the overuse of fertilisers and manures in vegetable crops.

Published online 07 August 2017

SR17032Predicting pasture yield response to nitrogenous fertiliser in Australia using a meta-analysis-derived model, with field validation

Cameron J. P. Gourley, Murray C. Hannah and Kohleth T. H. Chia

Increasing nitrogen fertiliser inputs to pastures can increase production and also lead to greater environmental impacts. Using data from 920 Australian field experiments, we developed a mathematical model that predicts increases in pasture production from added nitrogen fertiliser. These predictions are useful for economic analysis and determination of optimum nitrogen fertiliser application rates for Australian pastures in different regions and seasons.

Published online 07 August 2017

SR16334Nitrogen: the historical progression from ignorance to knowledge, with a view to future solutions

James N. Galloway, Allison M. Leach, Jan Willem Erisman and Albert Bleeker

Without industrially produced ammonia from atmospheric nitrogen, there would not be enough nitrogen to feed the current world population.  However, most nitrogen used in food production is lost to the environment, causing a multitude of negative impacts. This paper illustrates how people’s diets, both in type and amount of protein, control the nitrogen’s losses to the environment.  Our findings highlight the substantial increase in nitrogen use over time and the potential for dietary changes to reduce losses in the future.

Published online 07 August 2017

SR16349Nitrogen performance indicators for dairy production systems

Cecile A. M. de Klein, Ross M. Monaghan, Marta Alfaro, Cameron J. P. Gourley, Oene Oenema and J. Mark Powell

N performance indicators such as N use efficiency (NUE) or N surplus can help evaluate optimum N use for agricultural production while minimising the risk of environmental losses. We reviewed NUE and N surplus values for dairy production systems to assess realistic global goals for these indicators. Our results showed that there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ for global NUE and N surplus targets and that standardisation of methods for estimating these indicators is required.

Published online 25 July 2017

SR17031Global animal production and nitrogen and phosphorus flows

Qian Liu, Jingmeng Wang, Zhaohai Bai, Lin Ma and Oene Oenema

Animal production systems provide nutritious food to humans and income to farmers, but also contribute to human health issues and environmental pollution. Global animal production increased threefold during the past 50 years, which led to increased air and water pollution through nitrogen and phosphorus losses. Joint efforts of science, industry and governments are needed to markedly improve the environmental performance of landless industrial animal production systems in particular.

Published online 20 July 2017

SR16264Quantifying individual and collective influences of soil properties on crop yield

Rebecca Whetton, Yifan Zhao and Abdul M. Mouazen

Accurate crop management at a field level requires understanding and quantification of the relationships between soil properties and crop yield. The present paper discusses the successful implementation of an innovative non-linear parametric modelling approach for quantification of the agronomic influences of individual and interaction between pairs of soil properties on wheat yield. The quantification of the soil-related yield-limiting factors is an important step towards successful precision application for farm inputs.

Published online 14 July 2017

SR16327Crop and microbial responses to the nitrification inhibitor 3,4-dimethylpyrazole phosphate (DMPP) in Mediterranean wheat-cropping systems

Elliott G. Duncan, Cathryn A. O’Sullivan, Margaret M. Roper, Mark B. Peoples, Karen Treble and Kelley Whisson

Fertiliser nitrogen (N) losses are detrimental for the environment and the profitability of food production. Nitrification inhibitors (e.g. 3,4,-dimethylpyrazole phosphate (DMPP)) slow the conversion of ammonia (NH4+) to nitrate (NO3), which has the potential to reduce N losses and increase crop accumulation of N. This study demonstrates that although DMPP can slow the conversion of NH4+ to NO3, nitrification inhibitors are unlikely to facilitate large yield increases in broadacre crops grown in Australian Mediterranean environments.

Competition between plants and soil microbes to obtain nitrogen from soils, when carbon is added, is related to plant productivity. Microbial community structure changes when nitrogen and carbon are added to soils are not well understood. In the present study, we found that soil management history (organic vs conventional) influenced these changes – microbial usage of nitrogen when carbon is added to soils has a strong impact on fertiliser efficiency. Our finding could provide some basic information in understanding the mechanisms behind this.

Published online 13 July 2017

SR16332Dilemma of nitrogen management for future food security in sub-Saharan Africa – a review

Cargele Masso, Fredrick Baijukya, Peter Ebanyat, Sifi Bouaziz, John Wendt, Mateete Bekunda and Bernard Vanlauwe

Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest population growth worldwide and is a region with a paradox of ‘too little’ and ‘too much’ nitrogen use. This review shows that ‘too little’ nitrogen is used in food production, whereas ecosystem services have been impaired by ‘too much’ nitrogen lost to the environment. Good nitrogen management practices are crucial to improve food security in this region, while minimising environmental pollution.

Published online 13 July 2017

SR16330Soil mineral nitrogen benefits derived from legumes and comparisons of the apparent recovery of legume or fertiliser nitrogen by wheat

Mark B. Peoples, Antony D. Swan, Laura Goward, John A. Kirkegaard, James R. Hunt, Guangdi D. Li, Graeme D. Schwenke, David F. Herridge, Michael Moodie, Nigel Wilhelm, Trent Potter, Matthew D. Denton, Claire Browne, Lori A. Phillips and Dil Fayaz Khan

Soil and crop N data from 33 legume crops in 16 dryland cropping experiments conducted in eastern Australia between 1989 and 2016 identified relationships that can assist farmer decision-making by benchmarking the expected improvements in the availability of soil mineral N after legumes and estimating the relative value of legume N for a subsequent wheat crop.

Published online 13 July 2017

SR17049Can nitrogen fertiliser maintain wheat (Triticum aestivum) grain protein concentration in an elevated CO2 environment?

Cassandra Walker, Roger Armstrong, Joe Panozzo, Debra Partington and Glenn Fitzgerald

Under elevated CO2 (eCO2; 550 µmol mol–1), applying 100 kg N fertiliser ha–1 to wheat at sowing doubled the grain yield response compared with the response observed under ambient CO2 (aCO2; 390 µmol mol–1). Grain protein concentration (GPC) did not significantly increase under eCO2 for different N management strategies assessed in the present study, with the exception of 100 kg N ha–1 applied, suggesting that it is not practical to increase GPC using N fertiliser alone.

Published online 07 July 2017

SR17022The nitrification inhibitor DMPP applied to subtropical rice has an inconsistent effect on nitrous oxide emissions

Terry J. Rose, Stephen G. Morris, Peter Quin, Lee J. Kearney, Stephen Kimber and Lukas Van Zwieten

Chemical inhibitors that impair nitrification, such as 3,4-dimethylpyrazole phosphate (DMPP), have been shown to lower nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions from agricultural soils in temperate environments. We investigated N2O emissions from aerobic rice crops grown in the wet subtropics and found no consistent mitigation of cumulative seasonal N2O emissions with a commercial DMPP-urea product compared to standard urea. These results suggest that the efficacy of DMPP may be substantially lower in warm, wet subtropical environments than in temperate environments.

Published online 28 June 2017

SR16183Hydrogeological Landscapes framework: a biophysical approach to landscape characterisation and salinity hazard assessment

C. L. Moore, B. R. Jenkins, A. L. Cowood, A. Nicholson, R. Muller, A. Wooldridge, W. Cook, J. R. Wilford, M. Littleboy, M. Winkler and K. Harvey

The Hydrogeological Landscape (HGL) framework provides a structure for understanding how salinity manifests in the landscape, how differences in salinity are expressed across the landscape and how salinity may best be managed. This is the first approach to specifically address all three manifestations of salinity: land salinity, in-stream salt load and in-stream salt concentration. The HGL framework is an expert system that integrates the spatial variability of landscape characteristics and salinity processes to produce a salinity hazard assessment for any given area.

Published online 28 June 2017

SR17063Soil chemical management drives structural degradation of Oxisols under a no-till cropping system

Márcio R. Nunes, Alvaro P. da Silva, José E. Denardin, Neyde F. B. Giarola, Carlos M. P. Vaz, Harold M. van Es and Anderson R. da Silva

Soil structural degradation reduces the effectiveness of no-till as a sustainable soil management approach in crop production systems. Both chemical and biological factors may reduce the structural stability of the Oxisols and thereby exacerbate the soil physical degradation under no-till. The structural degradation of Oxisols cultivated under no-till, predominantly in the subsurface layer, is aggravated by the accumulation of amendments and fertilisers in the surface soil and reduced levels of organic matter.

Published online 23 June 2017

SR17018Empirical model for mineralisation of manure nitrogen in soil

Peter Sørensen, Ingrid K. Thomsen and Jaap J. Schröder

Application of animal manures to land affects the supply and losses of plant nutrients, including nitrogen, over many years. We developed a simple model that can predict the release of nitrogen from manures in the years after application. The model can be used to better predict residual effects of manure on both the nitrogen supply for crops and the risks of nitrate leaching.

Published online 23 June 2017

SR16182Carbon and nitrogen molecular composition of soil organic matter fractions resistant to oxidation

Katherine Heckman, Dorisel Torres, Christopher Swanston and Johannes Lehmann

Examination of oxidative-resistant soil organic matter from two Australian soils that are burnt frequently indicated that organics with the longest mean residence time were not composed solely of pyrogenic materials. Fire fuel type, grass vs trees, did not have a significant effect on oxidative-resistant soil organic matter mean residence time or character.

Published online 16 June 2017

SR16200Comparative effects of crop residue incorporation and inorganic potassium fertilisation on apparent potassium balance and soil potassium pools under a wheat–cotton system

Ning Sui, Chaoran Yu, Guanglei Song, Fan Zhang, Ruixian Liu, Changqin Yang, Yali Meng and Zhiguo Zhou

Long-term continuous cropping with unbalanced fertilisation has led to the serious depletion of available soil K pools and resulted in a negative K balance. In a 3-year field experiment, crop residue incorporation and inorganic K fertilisation had similar effects on soil K pools and balance depending on initial soil K level and actual K input. Consecutive crop residue incorporation could partly replace inorganic K fertiliser to increase K release and crop K uptake, and decrease K deficit, and so decreasing K fertilisation is feasible.

Published online 15 June 2017

SR16247Surface lime and silicate application and crop production system effects on physical characteristics of a Brazilian Oxisol

G. S. A. Castro, C. A. C. Crusciol, C. A. Rosolem, J. C. Calonego and K. R. Brye

Soil acidity amelioration and cropping systems affect soil physics, but there are no studies on how these factors interact. We studied how crop rotations under no-till and soil acidity amelioration affect soil physics and found that they are improved by soybean–maize–rice rotation with a forage crop in the off-season when soil acidity is ameliorated. Crop rotation is a valuable tool in managing physical properties of weathered, organic matter-depleted, acidic Oxisols and contribute in sustaining long-term crop productivity in these soils.

The economics of nitrogen are of central importance to the management of nitrogen fertiliser and its regulation by policy. Key economic findings include that factors determining optimal nitrogen rates are as much socio-economic as they are bio-physical, that farm profit is often highly insensitive to changes in the nitrogen fertiliser rate over a wide range of rates, and that the cost of reducing fertiliser rates is initially very low but escalates as the degree of reduction increases.

Published online 09 June 2017

SR16305Parent material and climate affect soil organic carbon fractions under pastures in south-eastern Australia

Susan E. Orgill, Jason R. Condon, Mark K. Conyers, Stephen G. Morris, Brian W. Murphy and Richard S. B. Greene

Research indicates that climate and inherent soil properties may have a greater effect on soil organic carbon (OC) than management practices. Few studies have investigated the effect of parent material on soil OC; thus, the present study is unique in the Australian context and clearly shows the contrasting effects of geology on the potential for sequestering C in soil. Ensuring adequate soil nutrition may increase OC stocks; however, the large stock of OC under pastures and the dominating effects of climate and parent material may mean that modest increases in soil OC due to management go undetected.

Environmental losses of nitrogen from farm fields (or paddocks) and the associated costs to farmers and society are a growing concern. Crops can use more of the applied nitrogen, and losses can be decreased with the right source, rate, time and place of application when matched with sound cropping system management. Site-specific use of enhanced efficiency nitrogen fertilisers, geo-spatial technologies, and weather-sensitive modelling tools can help raise crop nitrogen recovery.

Published online 01 June 2017

SR16060Tree-based techniques to predict soil units

H. S. K. Pinheiro, P. R. Owens, L. H. C. Anjos, W. Carvalho Júnior and C. S. Chagas

A new approach to improve soil survey methods can be achieved by using geotechnologies, such as remote sensing data and landscape modelling. Based on the integration of different data types in a geographic information system, the digital soil mapping techniques can address accuracy and scale issues, which are commonly problems in conventional soil surveys. By using terrain covariates related to soil genesis and development, the products generated provide greater information about soil mapping units and environmental relationships.

NBudget is a Microsoft (Armonk, NY, USA) Excel-based decision support tool developed primarily to assist farmers and/or advisors in Australia’s northern grains region manage N. It does not rely on soil testing; instead, it uses simple paddock descriptions and crop history plus rule-of-thumb values and stand-alone or linked algorithms describing, among other things, legume N2 fixation and rates of mineralisation of background soil organic N and fresh residue N. The tool accurately predicted sowing soil nitrate levels but not when the soil was flooded or heavily waterlogged.

Published online 23 May 2017

SR17011Investigating the effect of vetiver and polyacrylamide on runoff, sediment load and cumulative water infiltration

Elham Amiri, Hojat Emami, Mohammad R. Mosaddeghi and Ali R. Astaraei

Soil erosion is one of the most serious problems affecting the environment, natural resources and agriculture and threatening soil resources. The simultaneous effect of PAM and bioengineering techniques was studied under field conditions to control soil erosion and runoff. Vetiver may sufficiently decrease soil erosion and PAM is not necessary to control the runoff and soil erosion where vetiver is applied.

Published online 11 May 2017

SR16310Sugar cane straw left in the field during harvest: decomposition dynamics and composition changes

José G. de A. Sousa, Maurício R. Cherubin, Carlos E. P. Cerri, Carlos C. Cerri and Brigitte J. Feigl

Collecting sugarcane straw may be a solution to increase bioenergy (cellulosic ethanol and bioelectricity) production in Brazil to meet growing domestic and international demands. Evaluating the straw decomposition dynamic is essential to understand the potential effects of straw removal and management practices on the soil and plant growth. The present study revealed that sustainable straw removal associated with optimum management practices (organic amendments and no-till) decreased the straw decomposition rate, thereby favouring soil conservation in sugar cane fields in Brazil.

Published online 04 May 2017

SR16267Experimental study of the electrokinetic behaviour of kaolinite–smectite mixtures

M. Ben Salah, H. Souli, P. Dubujet, M. Hattab and M. Trabelsi Ayadi

The influence of macroscopic properties of kaolinite–smectite mixture on the electrokinetic behaviour is not well understood. The aim of this paper is to study the relationship between the smectite percentage and macroscopic properties and the electrokinetic behaviours of mixtures. The results show that smectite amounts of up to 25% change both the macroscopic properties and electrokinetic behaviours. This study allows optimisation of the electrokinetic method for application in the electroconsolidation of clay soils.

Published online 03 May 2017

SR16227Estimating organic carbon content of soil in Papua New Guinea using infrared spectroscopy

Ryan Orr, Anna V. McBeath, Wouter I. J. Dieleman, Michael I. Bird and Paul N. Nelson

The absorption of parts of the non-visible light spectrum has been used to identify differences in soil carbon composition, important for farming, environmental management, and carbon dioxide emissions modelling. The statistical model and methods generated can be used to improve future practices in Papua New Guinea. This analysis can now be applied to the unique soils of Papua New Guinea and broaden understanding of tropical soil composition.

Soil disturbance following tillage, which is a major issue in crop production, could be mediated by poultry manure application, thereby improving crop yield. Soil physical properties in tilled soil could be improved by combined application of poultry manure and NPK fertiliser; however, high rate of poultry manure under zero tillage should be avoided. To ensure good soil productivity and sustainable maze production, minimum tillage practices and joint application of organic and inorganic fertilisers are recommended.

Published online 27 April 2017

SR16131Dynamics of soil organic matter in a cultivated chronosequence in the Cerrado (Minas Gerais, Brazil)

Thalita M. Resende, Vania Rosolen, Martial Bernoux, Marcelo Z. Moreira, Fabiano T. d. Conceição and José S. Govone

Soil organic matter (SOM) can be used to evaluate ecosystem services. Understanding the changes in SOM in Brazilian savanna as a result of land use and management can provide information on soil degradation. The present findings revealed that the stock of SOM diminished in the topsoil under cultivated pastures. However, at deeper layers, SOM dynamics were influenced by the paleoclimatic history responsible for vegetation changes. This study highlights the importance of SOM to link environmental and human dynamics in tropical savanna.

Published online 06 April 2017

SR16190Early seedling establishment on aged Tasmanian tin mine tailings constrained by nutrient deficiency and soil structure, not toxicity

Stuart J. Macdonald, Gregory J. Jordan, Tanya G. Bailey and Neil Davidson

Revegetation of abandoned mine wastes can play a critical role in ameliorating the flux of environmental toxins. We investigated the recalcitrance of barren mine wastes at a long abandoned tin mine and discovered nutrient and structural factors as major limitations to seedling establishment. This study highlights the potential for plant establishment in previously hostile environments.

Published online 05 April 2017

SR163404-Amino-1,2,4-triazole can be more effective than commercial nitrification inhibitors at high soil temperatures

Tariq Mahmood, Rehmat Ali, Asma Lodhi and Muhammad Sajid

As commercial nitrification inhibitors (NIs) namely nitrapyrin, 3,4-dimethylpyrazol phosphate (DMPP) and dicyandiamide (DCD) are ineffective at high soil temperatures, it is worth exploring new compounds that can serve as effective NIs under warm climate. Comparing the effectiveness of 4-amino-1,2,4-triazole (ATC), DMPP and DCD to inhibit nitrification of (NH4)2SO4 at 35°C revealed that ATC was more effective than the commercial NIs. Therefore, ATC shows potential for commercialisation as an effective NI for high as well as moderate soil temperatures.

Soil salinisation harms large areas of agricultural land in Australia and other arid countries. We conducted field trials of how best to remediate saline and sodic (high exchangeable sodium) drought-affected soils in the Lower Murray region using various treatments (gypsum, limestone, seawater, acid) followed by irrigation. The results highlighted that irrigation only, without further costly soil amendment, could be effective in remediating the soils.

Published online 03 April 2017

SR16333Estimating the van Genuchten retention curve parameters of undisturbed soil from a single upward infiltration measurement

D. Moret-Fernández, C. Peña-Sancho, B. Latorre, Y. Pueyo and M. V. López

Estimating soil hydraulic properties of undisturbed soil samples is of paramount importance in many areas such as hydrology, soil science, and engineering. A new method to estimate the soil hydraulic properties of undisturbed samples is presented. The results showed that this method is a promising technique.

Published online 15 March 2017

SR16144Pronounced surface stratification of soil phosphorus, potassium and sulfur under pastures upstream of a eutrophic wetland and estuarine system

Megan H. Ryan, Mark Tibbett, Hans Lambers, David Bicknell, Phillip Brookes, Edward G. Barrett-Lennard, Carlos Ocampo and Dion Nicol

Movement of phosphorus off farms into waterways is detrimental to the health of downstream aquatic systems through promotion of algal blooms. We measured the concentration of phosphorus, and other elements, in the top 100 mm of soil under a beef farm and a dairy farm and found extremely high concentrations in the top 10 mm of soil. Management practices that lower phosphorus concentrations in surface soil will likely benefit the health of downstream ecosystems by reducing phosphorus movement off-farm.

Published online 28 February 2017

SR16186Spatial patterns and edge effects on soil organic matter and nutrients in a forest fragment of southern Brazil

Thomas Schröder and Frederico D. Fleig

Soil quality affects atmospheric carbon sequestration of terrestrial vegetation by limiting its growth. We aimed to discriminate between the natural processes and human influence on soil nutrients in a forest fragment and grassland created by afforestation. Afforested areas had lower soil quality and this effect was also observed in neighbouring forested areas.

Published online 22 February 2017

SR16090Quantifying above and belowground biomass carbon inputs for sugar-cane production in Brazil

A. M. Silva-Olaya, C. A. Davies, C. E. P. Cerri, D. J. Allen, F. F. C. Mello and C. C. Cerri

To meet national and international demands for ethanol, sugarcane cropping has increased in Brazil in the last years, affecting soil organic matter and subsequently ethanol sustainability. Herein, we quantified aboveground and belowground biomass production, shoot-to-root ratio, and the net and gross annual organic matter increases as a result of sugarcane cropping. Our results showed that the use of a mechanised green cane harvesting system resulted in significant organic matter increases that reduced the impact of land use change due to sugarcane expansion on pastures and Cerrado vegetation.

Published online 14 February 2017

SR16077Effect of tillage erosion on the distribution of CaCO3, phosphorus and the ratio of CaCO3/available phosphorus in the slope landscape

L. Z. Jia, J. H. Zhang, Y. Wang, Z. H. Zhang and B. Li

Tillage is an important human activity in agricultural areas, which can cause soil erosion together with the migration of soil constituents. The latter can lead to calcium carbonate replenishment and available phosphorus (AP) dilution in the surface layer of soil derived from carbonate-rich bedrocks. Reducing tillage can help increase AP concentrations in the topsoil layer and therefore improve soil fertility.

Published online 09 February 2017

SR16237A survey of total and dissolved organic carbon in alkaline soils of southern Australia

G. K. McDonald, E. Tavakkoli, D. Cozzolino, K. Banas, M. Derrien and P. Rengasamy

Dissolved organic C (DOC) is a small component of soil organic matter that influences soil chemical and biological processes and C accumulation, but variation in DOC in alkaline soils is poorly understood. A survey of alkaline soils from South Australia and Victoria found high DOC concentrations, highlighted regional differences in soil C and DOC and demonstrated how soil pH, soil chemical composition and cropping intensity influence DOC. The work improved understanding of the dynamics of soil C on alkaline soils.

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