Management Effects on Soil Carbon Dioxide Fluxes under Semiarid Mediterranean Conditions
López Sánchez, María Victoria
Arrúe, José Luis
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Losses of soil organic carbon (SOC) have contributed to CO2 emissions from soils to the atmosphere and to global climate change. We hypothesized that in semiarid agroecosystems of the Mediterranean region, a shift from the traditional management system (including conventional tillage [CT] and a cereal–fallow rotation) to a more conservative system, including no-till (NT) and continuous cropping, could reduce CO2 emissions during the cropping season. Thus, in this study, we studied the effects of tillage and cropping systems on C inputs and soil CO2 fluxes during three cropping seasons at three different sites in the Ebro River valley (northeast Spain). Carbon inputs ranged from 650 to 6000 kg ha–1 and seasonal average CO2 flux ranged from 0.10 to 1.76 g CO2 m–2 h–1. Differences in rainfall led to marked differences in C inputs and soil fluxes among growing seasons. Although differences among tillage treatments were weak, CO2 fluxes under NT were always lower. Intensification of cropping systems led to an increase in C input. A move from CT to NT together with cropping intensification is suitable to increase C inputs and to reduce soil CO2 fluxes in semiarid Mediterranean agroecosystems.