Pedosphere 23(5): 696--704, 2013
ISSN 1002-0160/CN 32-1315/P
©2013 Soil Science Society of China
Published by Elsevier B.V. and Science Press
Soil organic carbon stocks as affected by tillage systems in a double-cropped rice field
XU Shang-Qi1,2, ZHANG Ming-Yuan1,2, ZHANG Hai-Lin1,2, CHEN Fu1,2, YANG Guang-Li3 and XIAO Xiao-Ping3
1College of Agronomy and Biotechnology, China Agricultural University, Beijing 100193 (China)
2Key Laboratory of Farming System, Ministry of Agriculture of China, Beijing 100193 (China)
3Soil and Fertilizer Institute of Hunan Province, Changsha 410125 (China)
      Tillage practices can potentially affect soil organic carbon (SOC) accumulation in agricultural soils. A 4-year experiment was conducted to identify the influence of tillage practices on SOC sequestration in a double-cropped rice (Oryza sativa L.) field in Hunan Province of China. Three tillage treatments, no-till (NT), conventional plow tillage (PT), and rotary tillage (RT), were laid in a randomized complete block design. Concentrations of SOC and bulk density (BD) of the 0--80 cm soil layer were measured, and SOC stocks of the 0--20 and 0--80 cm soil layers were calculated on an equivalent soil mass (ESM) basis and fixed depth (FD) basis. Soil carbon budget (SCB) under different tillage systems were assessed on the basis of emissions of methane (CH4) and CO2 and the amount of carbon (C) removed by the rice harvest. After four years of experiment, the NT treatment sequestrated more SOC than the other treatments. The SOC stocks in the 0--80 cm layer under NT (on an ESM basis) was as high as 129.32 Mg C ha-1, significantly higher than those under PT and RT (P < 0.05). The order of SOC stocks in the 0--80 cm soil layer was NT > PT > RT, and the same order was observed for SCB; however, in the 0--20 cm soil layer, the RT treatment had a higher SOC stock than the PT treatment. Therefore, when comparing SOC stocks, only considering the top 20 cm of soil would lead to an incomplete evaluation for the tillage-induced effects on SOC stocks and SOC sequestrated in the subsoil layers should also be taken into consideration. The estimation of SOC stocks using the ESM instead of FD method would better reflect the actual changes in SOC stocks in the paddy filed, as the FD method amplified the tillage effects on SOC stocks. This study also indicated that NT plus straw retention on the soil surface was a viable option to increase SOC stocks in paddy soils.
Key Words:  bulk density, conventional tillage, equivalent soil mass basis, soil carbon budget, straw retention
Citation: Xu, S. Q., Zhang, M. Y., Zhang, H. L., Chen, F., Yang, G. L. and Xiao, X. P. 2013. Soil organic carbon stocks as affected by tillage systems in a double-cropped rice field. Pedosphere. 23(5): 696-704.
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