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Trees increase soil organic carbon and nutrient availability in temperate agroforestry systems

Paul Pardon (UGent) , B Reubens, Dirk Reheul (UGent) , Jan Mertens (UGent) , Pieter De Frenne (UGent) , T Coussement, P Janssens and Kris Verheyen (UGent)
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Abstract
Agroforestry systems (AFS) have a large potential to deliver a wide range of ecosystem services (ES). In field and crop management, changes to factors such as regulatory ES delivery are rarely taken into account, in part due to the paucity of detailed quantification of how trees affect biophysical field characteristics. This is especially true for arable systems in temperate climates. We have therefore assessed the influence of rows of trees of varying size on the prevailing soil characteristics in arable AFS. Spatial variability of soil organic carbon, acidity and nutrient status (N, P, K, Ca, Mg and Na) of the plough layer were analysed on a set of 17 arable agroforestry fields comprising 6 young ( <5 years) alley cropping fields and 11 fields bordered by a row of trees of moderate to older age (15-47 years) in Belgium. Significantly higher soil organic carbon and soil nutrient concentrations of N, P, K, Mg and Na were observed in the vicinity of trees in field boundaries, most likely resulting from the input of tree litter and nutrient-enriched throughfall water (for K and Na). Observed increases were strongly related to the distance from the tree row, resulting in a gradual change in soil conditions up to at least 30 m into the field. No significant effects of distance from the tree rows on soil characteristics were found in the young alley cropping fields. These results highlight the potential of middle-aged to mature tree rows to increase soil organic carbon stocks and nutrient availability for the agricultural crop in AFS.
Keywords
Alley cropping, Soil organic carbon, Soil fertility, Temperate agroforestry, Poplar, ALLEY CROPPING SYSTEM, SOUTHERN ONTARIO, INTERCROPPING SYSTEMS, ECOSYSTEM SERVICES, SILVOARABLE AGROFORESTRY, EUROPEAN AGROFORESTRY, HYBRID POPLARS, ROOT DYNAMICS, SEQUESTRATION, CANADA

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Chicago
Pardon, Paul, B Reubens, Dirk Reheul, Jan Mertens, Pieter De Frenne, T Coussement, P Janssens, and Kris Verheyen. 2017. “Trees Increase Soil Organic Carbon and Nutrient Availability in Temperate Agroforestry Systems.” Agriculture Ecosystems & Environment 247: 98–111.
APA
Pardon, Paul, Reubens, B., Reheul, D., Mertens, J., De Frenne, P., Coussement, T., Janssens, P., et al. (2017). Trees increase soil organic carbon and nutrient availability in temperate agroforestry systems. AGRICULTURE ECOSYSTEMS & ENVIRONMENT, 247, 98–111.
Vancouver
1.
Pardon P, Reubens B, Reheul D, Mertens J, De Frenne P, Coussement T, et al. Trees increase soil organic carbon and nutrient availability in temperate agroforestry systems. AGRICULTURE ECOSYSTEMS & ENVIRONMENT. 2017;247:98–111.
MLA
Pardon, Paul, B Reubens, Dirk Reheul, et al. “Trees Increase Soil Organic Carbon and Nutrient Availability in Temperate Agroforestry Systems.” AGRICULTURE ECOSYSTEMS & ENVIRONMENT 247 (2017): 98–111. Print.
@article{8530697,
  abstract     = {Agroforestry systems (AFS) have a large potential to deliver a wide range of ecosystem services (ES). In field and crop management, changes to factors such as regulatory ES delivery are rarely taken into account, in part due to the paucity of detailed quantification of how trees affect biophysical field characteristics. This is especially true for arable systems in temperate climates. We have therefore assessed the influence of rows of trees of varying size on the prevailing soil characteristics in arable AFS. Spatial variability of soil organic carbon, acidity and nutrient status (N, P, K, Ca, Mg and Na) of the plough layer were analysed on a set of 17 arable agroforestry fields comprising 6 young ( {\textlangle}5 years) alley cropping fields and 11 fields bordered by a row of trees of moderate to older age (15-47 years) in Belgium. Significantly higher soil organic carbon and soil nutrient concentrations of N, P, K, Mg and Na were observed in the vicinity of trees in field boundaries, most likely resulting from the input of tree litter and nutrient-enriched throughfall water (for K and Na). Observed increases were strongly related to the distance from the tree row, resulting in a gradual change in soil conditions up to at least 30 m into the field. No significant effects of distance from the tree rows on soil characteristics were found in the young alley cropping fields. These results highlight the potential of middle-aged to mature tree rows to increase soil organic carbon stocks and nutrient availability for the agricultural crop in AFS.},
  author       = {Pardon, Paul and Reubens, B and Reheul, Dirk and Mertens, Jan and De Frenne, Pieter and Coussement, T and Janssens, P and Verheyen, Kris},
  issn         = {0167-8809},
  journal      = {AGRICULTURE ECOSYSTEMS \& ENVIRONMENT},
  keyword      = {Alley cropping,Soil organic carbon,Soil fertility,Temperate agroforestry,Poplar,ALLEY CROPPING SYSTEM,SOUTHERN ONTARIO,INTERCROPPING SYSTEMS,ECOSYSTEM SERVICES,SILVOARABLE AGROFORESTRY,EUROPEAN AGROFORESTRY,HYBRID POPLARS,ROOT DYNAMICS,SEQUESTRATION,CANADA},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {98--111},
  title        = {Trees increase soil organic carbon and nutrient availability in temperate agroforestry systems},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.agee.2017.06.018},
  volume       = {247},
  year         = {2017},
}

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