Pedosphere 32(6): 916--927, 2022
ISSN 1002-0160/CN 32-1315/P
©2022 Soil Science Society of China
Published by Elsevier B.V. and Science Press
Reduced tillage with residue retention improves soil labile carbon pools and carbon lability and management indices in a seven-year trial with wheat-mung bean-rice rotation
Rafeza BEGUM1,2, Mohammad M. R. JAHANGIR1, Mohammad JAHIRUDDIN1, Mohammad Rafiqul ISLAM1, Shaikh M. BOKHTIAR3, Khandakar R. ISLAM4
1Department of Soil Science, Bangladesh Agricultural University, Mymensingh 2202(Bangladesh)
2Soil Resource Development Institute, Dhaka 1215(Bangladesh)
3South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation(SAARC) Agriculture Center, Dhaka 1215(Bangladesh)
4The Ohio State University, Columbus OH 43235(USA)
      Soil total organic carbon (TOC) is a composite indicator of soil quality with implications for crop production and the regulation of soil ecosystem services. Research reports on the dynamics of TOC as a consequence of soil management practices in subtropical climatic conditions, where microbial carbon (C) loss is high, are very limited. The objective of our study was to evaluate the impact of seven years of continuous tillage and residue management on soil TOC dynamics (quantitative and qualitative) with respect to lability and stratification under an annual wheat-mung bean-rice cropping sequence. Composite soil samples were collected at 0-15 and 15-30 cm depths from a three-replicate split-plot experiment with tillage treatment as the main plots and crop residue levels as the sub-plots. The tillage treatments included conventional tillage (CT) and strip tillage (ST). Residue levels were high residue level (HR), 30% of the plant height, and low residue level (LR), 15%. In addition to TOC, soil samples were analyzed for particulate organic C (POC), permanganate oxidizable C (POXC), basal respiration (BR), specific maintenance respiration rate (qCO2), microbial biomass C (MBC), potentially mineralizable C (PMC), and TOC lability and management indices. The ST treatment significantly increased the TOC and labile C pools at both depths compared with the CT treatment, with the effect being more pronounced in the surface layer. The HR treatment increased TOC and labile C pools compared with the LR treatment. The ST + HR treatment showed significant increases in MBC, metabolic quotient (qR), C pool index (CPI), C lability index (CLI), and C management index (CMI), indicating improved and efficient soil biological activities in such systems compared with the CT treatment. Similarly, the stratification values, a measure of soil quality improvement, for POC and MBC were > 2, indicating improved soil quality in the ST + HR treatment compared with the CT treatment. The ST + HR treatment not only significantly increased the contents of TOC pools, but also their stocks. The CMI was correlated with qCO2, BR, and MBC, suggesting that these are sensitive indicators of early changes in TOC. The qCO2 was significantly higher in the CT + LR treatment and negatively correlated with MBC and CMI, indicating a biologically stressed soil condition in this treatment. Our findings highlight that medium-term reduced tillage with HR management has profound consequences on soil TOC quality and dynamics as mediated by alterations in labile C pools.
Key Words:  basal respiration,carbon management index,carbon stratification,particulate organic carbon,permanganate oxidizable carbon,total organic carbon
Citation: Begum R, Jahangir M M R, Jahiruddin M, Islam M R, Bokhtiar S M, Islam K R. 2022. Reduced tillage with residue retention improves soil labile carbon pools and carbon lability and management indices in a seven-year trial with wheat-mung bean-rice rotation. Pedosphere. 32(6): 916-927.
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