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Soil, land care and environmental research

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 56 Number 2 2018

SR17157Review and outlook for agromineral research in agriculture and climate mitigation

Guanru Zhang, Jinting Kang, Tianxing Wang and Chen Zhu
pp. 113-122

Agrominerals are naturally occurring rocks and minerals that can be used for re-fertilising soils exhausted of macro- and micro-nutrients. Heightened concerns for limited world P and K resources and the potential for applying a large amount of agrominerals to mitigate global warming has renewed interest of the subject. This review highlights the state of knowledge and potential future directions.

In desert ecosystems shrubs are viewed as resource islands, oases of higher fertility in the barren landscape, supporting biota above and below the ground. While the aboveground diversity was extensively studied, little is known about the belowground communities. Therefore, communities under two dominant shrubs and in barren soil located in opposing slopes were studied, revealing that shrubs alone could be linked to changes in soil bacterial diversity and community composition.

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.

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.

Managing nitrogen supply to better match crop demand and reduce losses will be an important goal under future predicted elevated carbon dioxide conditions. Use of a nitrification inhibitor in a cereal–legume rotation may help to increase grain nitrogen concentration, increase the mobilisation of nitrogen towards the grain under elevated carbon dioxide, and may also help to compensate for decreases in grain copper concentration under elevated carbon dioxide. However, use of a nitrification inhibitor may not provide additional benefits for productivity or efficiency of nitrogen utilisation.

SR17058Digital mapping of soil erodibility for water erosion in New South Wales, Australia

Xihua Yang, Jonathan Gray, Greg Chapman, Qinggaozi Zhu, Mitch Tulau and Sally McInnes-Clarke
pp. 158-170

We assessed eight empirical methods on soil erodibility (K-factor) estimation and produced a harmonised high-resolution K-factor map for the entire state of NSW with improvements by using the recent digital soil maps (DSMs) and soil information. The modelled erodibility values were validated with field plots and further used along with other RUSLE factors to assess erosion risk which in turn provides useful information for erosion control and management.

SR16157Traditional manual tillage significantly affects soil redistribution and CO2 emission in agricultural plots on the Loess Plateau

Yan Geng, Hanqing Yu, Yong Li, Mahbubul Tarafder, Guanglong Tian and Adrian Chappell
pp. 171-181

Soil redistribution induced by traditional manual tillage can potentially affect the soil carbon cycle, but few studies have quantified soil CO2 emission under different manual tillage practices. The present study demonstrated that soil CO2 emission was reduced upslope but enhanced downslope of the tilled slopes. The results imply that subsistence farming on steep slopes using hand tools may have a large effect on regional C balance and estimates of C budgets.

SR17039Evidence for soil carbon enhancement through deeper mouldboard ploughing at pasture renovation on a Typic Fragiaqualf

R. Calvelo Pereira, M. J. Hedley, M. Camps Arbestain, P. Bishop, K. E. Enongene and I. J. J. Otene
pp. 182-191

Permanent pastures require periodic renewal (cultivation and re-sowing) to maintain their productive potential, which involves a short-term C loss. Normal cultivation (ploughing or discing) often involves only the top 10–15 cm, or less, of pasture soils. Deeper ploughing (below 20 cm; inversion tillage) at the time of renewing a permanent ryegrass plus clover-based pasture growing on an imperfectly drained Typic Fragiaqualf soil resulted in an overall increase in soil C mass to approximately 30 cm of 18%, or 13.9 Mg C ha–1, compared with not undertaking the re-grassing. This gain in soil C may be temporary but, over a period of 4 years, it significantly increased the net residence time of C in soil related to the soil inversion.

Increased atmospheric nitrogen (N) deposition caused by human activities has potentially important effects on ecosystem carbon (C) dynamics. The present study investigated the differential effects of N deposition on oxidisable soil organic carbon (SOC) and its four fractions with different labilities in plant rhizospheric and bulk soils, and found that SOC in the rhizosphere became more recalcitrant at low levels (N2.8–N5.6) of N addition, but addition of high levels (N11.2–N44.8) of N resulted in accumulation of labile C that was less stable against chemical and biological degradation. This study provides a theoretical basis for increasing long-term soil C storage and the stabilising soil C pool in a changing global environment.

SR17093Changes in soil stress during repeated wheeling: A comparison of measured and simulated values

Mojtaba Naderi-Boldaji, Ali Kazemzadeh, Abbas Hemmat, Sajad Rostami and Thomas Keller
pp. 204-214

Changes in soil stress with repeated wheeling is an area that has not been effectively investigated. It was hypothesized that variations in rut depth resulting in reduction of distance between the soil-tire interface and stress transducer is the potential reason for stress variations with repeated wheeling which was supported with experimental measurements and analytical simulations. However, variations in soil stress with repeated wheeling must have also contributed to stress changes with repeated wheeling.

Online Early

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

Published online 20 March 2018

SR17071Quantification of wetting front movement under the influence of surface topography

Xuefeng Chu, Xinhua Jia and Yang Liu

It is crucial to understand how surface topography controls soil water movement. This study aimed to evaluate such effects under various hydrologic conditions through laboratory experiments and numerical modelling, and revealed two distinct soil water movement stages: topography-dominated two-dimensional flow and uniform one-dimensional flow. The findings are useful for better understanding of soil-water processes and agricultural water management.

Geogenic CO2, originating from volcanic and seismic activities, affects a variety of processes in soil. This study demonstrates a previously unknown effect on exchangeable cations, total element contents, and on the composition of physical fractions of soil organic matter, derived from infrared spectroscopy. These findings are potentially transferrable to other sites with similarly enhanced CO2 concentrations in the soil atmosphere.

Soil carbon stock is about four times more than in vegetation and about three times more than in the atmosphere, yet remains understudied upon land use change. This paper quantified soil organic carbon in a grassed catchment before and eight years after commercial afforestation, indicating that Pinus elliottii, Eucalyptus nitens decreased, and Pinus patula slightly increased soil organic carbon. This provides a valuable southern hemisphere reference for global carbon calculations and highlights the impact of land use change.

Tropical forests are among the most threatened and important biomes for exchanging large quantities of carbon and nutrients every year through decomposition of leaf and root litters. In tropics, secondary forests have become dominant landscape to provide many ecosystem services including the potential to function as sinks for atmospheric carbon. Therefore, these secondary forests have strong potential to provide similar ecosystem services to that of natural forest within 2 decades by managing their litter carbon and nitrogen fluxes.

Published online 01 March 2018

SR17193Soil erosion analysis by RUSLE and sediment yield models using remote sensing and GIS in Kelantan state, Peninsular Malaysia

M. T. Anees, K. Abdullah, M. N. M. Nawawi, N. A. N. Norulaini, M. I. Syakir and A. K. M. Omar

The remote sensing and Geographic Information System (GIS) techniques were used in this study for soil erosion analysis. There was a need to prioritise 82 watersheds according to high soil erosion in which two fell into the very high and high priority categories respectively. Very high and high priority areas were associated with high rainfall and agricultural activities on steep slopes which indicate the importance of remote sensing and GIS techniques in finding accurate causes of soil erosion.

Published online 06 February 2018

SR17219Does 3,4-dimethylpyrazole phosphate or N-(n-butyl) thiophosphoric triamide reduce nitrous oxide emissions from a rain-fed cropping system?

Guangdi D. Li, Graeme D. Schwenke, Richard C. Hayes, Hongtao Xing, Adam J. Lowrie and Richard J. Lowrie

The use of DMPP significantly reduced N2O emission from soil, but NBPT did not in a rain-fed cropping system. A two-year field experiment failed to demonstrate positive crop yield response by using either DMPP or NBPT. Unless financial incentives for environmental benefits are provided, the lack of additional agronomic benefit and their additional cost will preclude the use of N inhibitors.

Published online 22 January 2018

SR17205Soil organic carbon retention more affected by altitude than texture in a forested mountain range in Brazil

Y. L. Zinn, A. B. Andrade, M. A. Araujo and R. Lal

Soil organic C (SOC) retention is affected by texture, but it is not known how this relation is affected by altitude. Sampling coarse- and fine-textured soils at two altitudes, we found that texture affected SOC only at lower altitudes (1,060 m). SOC retention at >1,200 m is thus marked by weaker interaction with soil minerals, and probably less stable.

Published online 07 December 2017

SR17081A simple numerical model to estimate water availability in saline soils

Mohammad Hossein Mohammadi and Mahnaz Khataar

Soil salinity decreases plant water uptake and crop yields in arid and semiarid regions. We develop an approach to estimate soil salinity after irrigation or precipitation events. Knowledge the influence of soil salinity on the plant water uptake will become useful in designing of irrigation scheme and field management to achieve more crops.

Published online 07 December 2017

SR17087Effects of pH and mineralisation on nitrification in a subtropical acid forest soil

Wei Zhao, Jin-bo Zhang, Christoph Müller and Zu-cong Cai

Few studies considered the effect of soil pH on nitrification at the microsite scale which is associated with mineralization. The aim of the research was to investigate how increasing pH affected mineralization and then nitrification in the subtropical acid forest soil. Results suggested that pH-induced increase in N mineralization provided more microsites surrounded with NH4+ substrate and favorable pH for the development of ammonia-oxidizing bacteria populations and their nitrifying activity. A good understanding the synergistic effects of soil pH and mineralization on nitrification will improve our knowledge about the effects of land management practices on the subtropical acid forest soils and underlying mechanisms.

Published online 29 November 2017

SR17029Role of soil quality in declining rooibos (Aspalathus linearis) tea yields in the Clanwilliam area, South Africa

Jacobus F. N. Smith, Alfred Botha and Ailsa G. Hardie

Global demand for rooibos tea is increasing whereas yields are decreasing in the primary production area of Clanwilliam, South Africa. The aim of this study was to investigate soil quality and plant properties in cultivated rooibos plantations of various ages (1–60 years) and adjacent, wild rooibos stands in pristine fynbos. Long-term rooibos production resulted in declines in soil organic matter, basic cations and accumulation of phosphorus which correlated with rooibos yield declines and suppressed mycorrhizal colonization.

Published online 29 November 2017

SR17214Potassium fertilisation with humic acid coated KCl in a sandy clay loam tropical soil

Ciro A. Rosolem, Danilo S. Almeida, Kassiano F. Rocha and Gustavo H. M. Bacco

Extensive areas with low clay soils will be converted to agriculture to meet global food demand, and K is prone to leaching in these soils. We compared a conventional K fertilizer with a fertilizer coated with humic substances, and showed that the protected fertilizer, although not avoiding K leaching, is an adequate fertilizer in low clay soils with very low K content.

Liming and trash blanket are commonly used for remediating soil acidity and managing trash residues. This study has shown that liming improves soil microbial growth, but trash blanket placement increases labile carbon and nitrogen availability in a sugarcane soil of subtropical Australia.

Published online 27 October 2017

SR16343Fabric of soil derived from parna and the riddle of transported pellets

Stephen R. Cattle and Carol M. S. Smith

ToC Abstract: ‘Parna’ the clayey loess of southeastern Australia, is assumed to have been transported by wind as fine sand- and silt-sized pellets, but little direct evidence of such pellets has been shown. The micromorphological and granulometric properties of several soils derived from parna have been investigated. In upper (younger) subsoils derived from parna, prolate fine sand-sized pellets are identifiable and have a distinctive mosaic-speckled b-fabric. However, in lower subsoils derived from older parna deposits, abundant illuviation features and a lack of identifiable pellets suggest that weathering and various pedologic processes have destroyed them.

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