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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 Numbers 5 & 6 2017

International Nitrogen Initiative (INI) 2016

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
pp. 417-424

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.

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
pp. 425-434

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.

Nitrogen (N) inputs exceed outputs over the Australian continent, mainly because of biological N-fixation by permanent pastures, but the surplus is partly offset by the N-mining of dryland crops. Fertiliser N application is increasing rapidly but still contributes less than mineralised N from soil reserves to production and to environmental problems. Nitrogen use efficiency by crops is relatively low and we propose research on improved methods of fertiliser application.

SR17031Global animal production and nitrogen and phosphorus flows

Qian Liu, Jingmeng Wang, Zhaohai Bai, Lin Ma and Oene Oenema
pp. 451-462

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.

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.

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.

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
pp. 479-488

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.

SR17033Estimating nitrogen excretion and deposition by lactating cows in grazed dairy systems

Sharon R. Aarons, Cameron J. P. Gourley, J. Mark Powell and Murray C. Hannah
pp. 489-499

Quantifying excreted N loads is required to improve N management on grazing system dairy farms. Excreted N (437 g cow–1 day–1; 69% of N imports) accumulated in parts of farms close to the dairy shed (overnight paddocks, feedpads and holding areas) and loading rates to the ‘night’ paddocks were greater than fertiliser N applied. Regression relationships developed between excreted and intake N can be used to improve within-farm N management.

SR17018Empirical model for mineralisation of manure nitrogen in soil

Peter Sørensen, Ingrid K. Thomsen and Jaap J. Schröder
pp. 500-505

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.

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
pp. 506-517

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.

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
pp. 518-523

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.

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.

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.

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
pp. 547-552

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.

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
pp. 553-566

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.

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.

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
pp. 579-589

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.

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.

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
pp. 600-615

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.

Online Early

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

Published online 19 September 2017

SR16308Waterlogging and soil reduction affect the amount and apparent molecular weight distribution of dissolved organic matter in wetland soil: a laboratory study

Asmaa Rouwane, Malgorzata Grybos, Isabelle Bourven, Marion Rabiet and Gilles Guibaud

Natural organic matter could be a vector by which pollutants enter aquatic systems. The present study characterised the dissolved organic matter (DOM) released during soil waterlogging and under progressive reducing conditions. The results indicate high DOM release after oxygen depletion induced by soil waterlogging and show DOM enrichment with polar functional groups under iron-reducing conditions. These changes in DOM composition could have important consequences on the solubility and mobility of metals in soil.

Published online 12 September 2017

SR17050Fluxes of greenhouse gases from incubated soils using different lid-closure times

Dang Duy Minh, Ben Macdonald, Sören Warneke and Ian White

Laboratory incubations and field measurements have provided valuable information on the production of green-house gases. However, information about the effects of pre-incubation and closure time on soil-induced gas emissions is currently limited. Our findings showed that different closure times and pre-incubation times altered gas emissions from incubated soils. A standardised procedure to investigate gas fluxes is needed for application to other studied soils.

Published online 12 September 2017

SR17117Soil mechanical stresses in high wheel load agricultural field traffic: a case study

Mathieu Lamandé and Per Schjønning

Subsoil compaction is a serious threat to soil functions. In this study we quantified the vertical stresses in the tyre–soil contact area and at 0.3, 0.6 and 0.9 m depths of a sandy loam at field capacity. The machinery tested was a tractor–trailer system for slurry application with wheel loads up to 70 kN. The maximum stress measured at 0.3, 0.6 and 0.9 m depths was approximately 300, 100 and 45 kPa respectively. Previous studies in the experimental plots have documented persistent effects on soil properties and functions to a depth of at least 0.7 m.

Published online 11 September 2017

SR17091Effects of sugar cane bagasse biochar and spent mushroom compost on phosphorus fractionation in calcareous soils

Arzhang Fathi Gerdelidani and Hossein Mirseyed Hosseini

The effects of sugar cane bagasse biochar and spent mushroom compost (SMC) on different phosphorus fractions and plant-available phosphorus was studied in three calcareous soils. The different P fractions were evaluated in the soil such. Application of SMC significantly increased Ca2-P in all soils compared with control, and had an increasing trend over time, but biochar only increased Ca2-P significantly in sandy loam soil. Application of SMC can enhance plant-available P and affect P fractions and distribution, with the degree of the increase being soil specific. In contrast, the effects of biochar on P availability, fractions and distribution need more time to become apparent.

Published online 05 September 2017

SR16262Soil properties and organic matter quality in relation to climate and vegetation in southern Indian tropical ecosystems

Shanmugam Mani, Agustín Merino, Felipe García-Oliva, Jean Riotte and Raman Sukumar

Soil organic matter (SOM) plays a key role in maintaining soil productivity but directly altered by climate. The combinations of two SOM quality techniques (DSC-TG analysis and density fractionation) showed that the SOM content was mainly limited by annual precipitation and low clay content especially in the dry forest soils. These techniques provided better characterisation of SOM quality which determines C-sequestration capacity of the Mudumalai tropical forest soils.

Published online 04 September 2017

SR16356Ecological niche differentiation of ammonia-oxidising archaea and bacteria in acidic soils due to land use change

Shenyan Dai, Qian Liu, Jun Zhao and Jinbo Zhang

Land use pattern regulates the relative contribution of ammonia-oxidising archaea (AOA) and ammonia-oxidising bacteria (AOB) to ammonia oxidation in acidic soils. We found that AOA played the predominant role in ammonia oxidation in acidic forest and paddy soils, whereas AOB mainly regulated the ammonia oxidation in acidic upland agricultural soils. Thus, the contributor of ammonia oxidation in acidic soils can be manipulated via regulation of the soil moisture content.

Published online 25 August 2017

SR17001Effect of 10 years of biofertiliser use on soil quality and rice yield on an Inceptisol in Assam, India

Smrita Buragohain, Banashree Sarma, Dhruba J. Nath, Nirmali Gogoi, Ram S. Meena and Rattan Lal

In this study, responses of rice yield and soil physicochemical and biological health were investigated after application of biofertiliser and enriched biocompost, where significant increases in rice yield and improved soil organic carbon, soil nutrients and biological health were observed. Incorporation of biofertiliser and biocompost can substitute for 75% of inorganic N and P fertilisers. Fraction 2 (labile carbon) of total organic carbon, total P, available K, microbial biomass carbon and phosphate-solubilising bacteria were identified as indicators of soil quality to assess the efficacy of biofertiliser and biocompost incorporation in Inceptisols under rice cultivation.

Published online 25 August 2017

SR17036Drip irrigation with film covering improves soil enzymes and muskmelon growth in the greenhouse

Jingwei Wang, Wenquan Niu, Miles Dyck, Mingzhi Zhang and Yuan Li

This study investigated responses of soil enzyme activity, soil micro-organisms, muskmelon root growth and muskmelon fruit yield and quality to different levels of film covering, drip pipe density and different lower limits of irrigation in a greenhouse experiment. The results showed that, half film covering, irrigation at 80% field capacity and one pipe for two rows improved the root-zone soil environment, muskmelons yield and fruit quality in the greenhouse.

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 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

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.

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.

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.

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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