Effect of long-term conservation tillage on soil biochemical properties in Mediterranean Spanish areas
Murillo Carpio, José Manuel
Moreno Lucas, Félix
López Sánchez, María Victoria
Arrúe, José Luis
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In semi-arid Mediterranean areas, studies of the performance of conservation tillage systems have largely demonstrated advantages in crop yield, soil water storage and soil protection against wind and water erosion. However, little attention has been given to interactions between soil biochemical properties under different tillage practices. Biochemical properties are useful tools to assess changes caused by different soil tillage systems in long-term field experiments. This study deals with the effect of long-term tillage practices (reduced tillage and no-tillage vs. traditional tillage) on soil chemical properties and microbial functions in three different sites of Spain (two of them located in the Northeast and one in the Southwest) under semi-arid Mediterranean conditions. Soil biological status, as index of soil quality, was evaluated by measuring microbial biomass carbon (MBC) and dehydrogenase (an oxidoreductase) and protease (a hydrolase) activities at three soil depths (0–5, 5–10 and 10–25 cm). In the three experimental areas, increases in soil organic matter content, MBC and enzymatic activities were found at the superficial layers of soil under conservation tillage (reduced tillage and no-tillage) in comparison with traditional tillage. Values of the stratification ratio of some biochemical properties were significantly correlated with yield production in Northeast sites.
Is part ofSoil and Tillage Research, 2009, vol. 105, núm. 1, p. 55-62
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