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Patterns of soil organic carbon and nitrogen in relation to soil movement under different land uses in mountain fields (South Central Pyrenees)

AuthorsNavas Izquierdo, Ana CSIC ORCID ; Gaspar Ferrer, Leticia CSIC ORCID ; Quijano Gaudes, Laura CSIC ORCID ; López-Vicente, Manuel CSIC ORCID ; Machín Gayarre, Javier CSIC
Soil redistribution
Nutrient sources and sinks
Cultivated and abandoned fields
Issue DateJul-2012
CitationNavas A, Gaspar L, Quijano L, López-Vicente M, Machín J. Patterns of soil organic carbon and nitrogen in relation to soil movement under different land uses in mountain fields (South Central Pyrenees). Catena 94: 43–52 (2012)
AbstractCultivation on mountain landscapes has been identified as a main factor triggering soil erosion. Patterns of erosion, transport and deposition of soil particles in agricultural landscapes appears to be closely linked to that of soil nutrients. In this work the redistribution of soilorganiccarbon and nitrogen and of soil particles is analysed in different geomorphic parts of mountain fields. A southern orientated hillslope was selected as representative of main land uses in mountain farmland of the Central Spanish Pyrenees. In the region, as much as 74% of its surface was abandoned in the last decades and as a result patterns of soil and nutrient losses in the fields were affected by both land abandonment and tillage. A set of cultivated and abandoned fields with different ages of land abandonment, slope gradients and lengths were selected to conduct this study. In each of the fields, total soil depth sampling was done in different parts of the slope to assess the pattern distribution of soilorganiccarbon (SOC) and nitrogen (SON). Other general soil properties analysed: pH, EC, carbonate content, grain size distribution and additional information derived from fallout caesium 137 provided supplementary information for better understanding the patterns of soil and nutrient redistribution. In the cultivated fields SOC and SON contents were higher and comparable to contents in the older abandoned fields, because the recovery of the natural vegetation after a long-term period of abandonment equalized the nutrient conditions in the cultivated fields that had regular additions of manure. In general SOC and SON percentages increased from the upper slope to the bottom slope of the fields with percentage increases ranging from 4 to 54% and from 1.5% to as much as 77%, respectively. Similarly, significant increases of SOC and SON inventories (45 and 49%, respectively) were registered at the bottom slopes of longer fields by comparison with lower increases (33 and 30%, respectively) in shorter and steeper fields. Soil deposition at the bottom slope as indicated by the 137Cs residuals was paralleled with increases in SOC and SON contents. Under the land use practices in the studied fields the bottom slope positions accumulate soil particles and act as sinks of soilcarbon and nitrogen in these mountain agricultural landscapes.
Description35 Pags., 6 Tabls, 5 Figs. The definitive version is available at: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/03418162
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.catena.2011.05.012
Appears in Collections:(EEAD) Artículos
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