Residue retention promotes soil carbon accumulation in minimum tillage systems: Implications for conservation agriculture
Self archived versionfinal draft
MetadataShow full item record
CitationLi, Yuan. Li, Zhou. Chang, Scott X. Cui, Song. Jagadamma, Sindhu. Zhang, Qingping. Cai, Yanjiang. (2020). Residue retention promotes soil carbon accumulation in minimum tillage systems: Implications for conservation agriculture. Science of the total environment, 740, 140147. 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.140147.
Crop residue retention and minimum tillage (including no–tillage, NT, and reduced tillage, RT) are common conservation tillage practices that have been extensively applied for improving soil health and reducing the negative environmental impact caused by intensive farming. However, the effects of minimum tillage, coupled with crop residue retention (including no–tillage plus residue retention, NTR, and reduced tillage plus residue retention, RTR), on soil organic carbon (SOC) stock have not been systematically analyzed. Using a dataset consisting of 1928 pairs of data points from 243 studies, we conducted a global meta–analysis to evaluate the effects of crop residue retention and minimum tillage on SOC stock in the 0–30 cm soil and how these effects varied with soil (soil sampling depth and texture), environmental (climate) and crop management conditions (cropping intensity), as well as treatment duration. We found that regardless of the climatic condition, crop management, or residue retention, minimum tillage alone increased the overall mean SOC stock. Specifically, NT and RT increased SOC stock by 11 and 6%, respectively, in comparison to conventional tillage (CT). Compared with CT, NTR and RTR increased SOC stock by 13 and 12%, respectively. The above effects were greater in the topsoil (62% of data points from the 0–15 cm depth) than in the subsoil (38% of data points from the 15–30 cm depth). Moreover, residue retention enhanced the resistance of SOC turnover to agricultural and environmental factors; mean annual temperature (coefficient = 0.15), soil pH (0.14), and experimental duration (0.08) were critical for increasing SOC stock with minimum tillage alone, while the response ratio of SOC stock under coupled residue retention and minimum tillage was insensitive to changes in those factors. Additionally, double cropping generally increased SOC stock cross all conservation tillage practices compared to multiple cropping. Therefore, we conclude that minimum tillage coupled with residue retention in a double-cropping system is the most promising management system for increasing SOC stocks in the 0–30 cm soil in croplands Our finding can inform sustainable soil management practices aimed at increasing resistance of SOC in croplands to climate change and soils degradation induced by intensive agriculture.