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Tensile strength and organic carbon of soil aggregates under long-term no tillage in semiarid Aragon (NE Spain)

AutorBlanco-Moure, Nuria ; Angurel, Luis A.; Moret-Fernández, David ; López Sánchez, María Victoria
Palabras claveAggregate strength
Conservation tillage
Soil organic carbon
Rupture energy
Dryland cereal farming
Fecha de publicaciónnov-2012
CitaciónBlanco-Moure N, Angurel LA, Moret-Fernández D, López MV. Tensile strength and organic carbon of soil aggregates under long-term no tillage in semiarid Aragon (NE Spain). Geoderma 189-190: 423–430 (2012)
ResumenTensile strength (TS) of soil aggregates is recognized as a useful parameter to detect structural changes associated with soil management. Although conservation tillage has been encouraged as a management alternative to preserve soil and water resources in semiarid Aragon (NE Spain), little information concerning soils on which these techniques are applied is available for this region. The main objective of this study was to assess the effect of long-term no tillage (NT) on TS, rupture energy (E) and organiccarbon (OC) of soil surface aggregates (0–5 cm depth) in five different cereal production areas of Aragon. In four of the sites, the study was conducted under on-farm conditions where pairs of adjacent fields under NT and conventional tillage (CT) were compared. In the last site, the study was carried out in research plots from a long-term tillage experiment where a third tillage treatment was also considered (reduced tillage). In all cases, a nearby undisturbed soil under native vegetation was included. Results indicate that NT reduced aggregate TS and E with respect to CT systems through lower soil disturbance and higher OC content. Aggregate size (16–8, 8–4, 4–2 and 2–1 mm in diameter) and aggregate-associated OC explained 70–80% of the variation in TS and E. Strength properties varied with OC in quadratic way with minimum values at about 20 g kg− 1 of OC. This behavior can be explained by the significant interactions found between clay and OC in such a way that in the soils with the highest values of clay and OC, aggregate strength increased considerably. This study shows that, under the rainfed conditions of semiarid Aragon, NT improves soil physical conditions by reducing aggregatestrength at the soil surface. This means, for example, that NT could provide a more favorable environment for seedling emergence and root growth than the traditional practices in the area.
DescripciónEl pdf del artículo es la versión pre-print.
Versión del editorhttp://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.geoderma.2012.05.015
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