Tiloca, Maria Teresa (2018) Soil carbon dynamics and Land Use Change assessment in a no-food Mediterranean cropping system. Doctoral Thesis.
The understanding of soil carbon dynamics in perennial energy systems is crucial to maintain soil fertility and agro-ecosystem sustainability. The research aims to assess the performances of five agricultural managements on soil organic carbon dynamics in a Mediterranean cropping system of cardoon (LW and HI low and high rate of N fertilizer, LW-B: plus biochar; LW-C: plus cover crop and LW-CB: plus cover crop and biochar). In addition, the impacts in terms of Land Use Change (LUC) due to conversion from biannual (barley to field bean) to cardoon were evaluated. The study was conducted from 2014 to 2017. Soil parameters of Soil Organic Carbon (SOC) content and stock were determined. Furthermore, soil respiration, temperature and moisture were monitored weekly. The best performance was showed by LW-B and LW-C managements since the biochar incorporation provided an important stable C resource that might foster C sequestration contributing to climate change mitigation. N-fixing cover crop use (i.e. subterranean clover) in perennial energy systems might be a successful strategy in terms of soil fertility enhancing and consequently ecosystem services supply. LUC and agricultural management also influenced C dynamics. The conversion of food/feed cropping system to energy one can produced a C stock increase in the soil throughout the entire perennial crop cycle that might be an useful strategy in terms of climate change mitigation.
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