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Soil Science Society of America Journal Abstract -

Potential Soil Respiration and Relationship to Soil Properties in Ridge Tillage


This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 59 No. 5, p. 1430-1435
    Received: July 26, 1993

    * Corresponding author(s): ajones@unlinfo.unl.edu
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  1. M. A. Liebig,
  2. A. J. Jones ,
  3. J. W. Doran and
  4. L. N. Mielke
  1. Dep. of Agronomy
    USDA-ARS, Univ. of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE 68583



Differences in traffic and tillage intensity among positions in ridge tillage create distinctly different environments for microbial activity. This study was conducted to assess the impact of long-term controlled wheel traffic on soil respiration in ridge-till and to use correlation analysis to identify relationships between soil respiration and soil physical and chemical properties. Soil respiration was evaluated from 0 to 30 cm in one row, one tractor-trafficked interrow, and one nontrafficked interrow of continuous corn (Zea mays L.) and continuous soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.]. Soil respiration was measured on disturbed samples at three levels of water-filled pore space (WFPS) by gas chromatography for 25 d. Properties assessed included bulk density, soil strength, texture, aggregate-size distribution, saturated hydraulic conductivity (Ksat), water retention characteristics, organic C, and total N. Soil respiration was greatest at 0 to 7.5 cm in each position and decreased significantly below that depth. Correlation analysis indicated microbial activity in ridge-till varied spatially in relation to changes in the soil physical environment. Soil respiration was negatively correlated with bulk density at each WFPS. The Ksat was positively correlated with soil respiration at 0 to 7.5 cm for each WFPS. Under drier soil conditions, as exemplified by 47% WFPS, aggregates <1.0 mm and gravitational water were positively correlated with soil respiration at the 0 to 7.5 cm. Soil environments characterized by bulk density <1.4 Mg m−3 and Ksat >10 cm h−1 were associated with respiration rates >4 and 12 mg CO2-C L−1 soil d−1, respectively.

Contribution from the Nebraska Agric. Exp. Stn., Journal Series no. 10297.

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