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This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 64 No. 2, p. 689-693
    Received: Mar 22, 1999

    * Corresponding author(s): mirjam.pulleman@oio.beng.wau.nl
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Soil Organic Matter Content as a Function of Different Land Use History

  1. M. M. Pulleman *,
  2. J. Bouma,
  3. E. A. van Essen and
  4. E. W. Meijles
  1. Laboratory of Soil Science and Geology, Dep. of Environ. Sci., Wageningen Agricultural Univ., P.O. Box 37, 6700 AA Wageningen, The Netherlands


A regional survey of management and crop type and soil organic matter (SOM) content was conducted in one soil series in the Netherlands (loamy, mixed, mesic, Fluventic Eutrudept). The objective was to determine the effects of land use history on SOM contents in a prime agricultural soil, using available soil survey information and statistical analyses. Soil organic matter content is a relatively stable, integrating soil characteristic that reflects long-term land use and is an important indicator of soil quality. The SOM contents and information about past land use were obtained from 45 fields. Land use history was expressed in terms of (i) tillage; (ii) crop type; and (iii) use of chemical fertilizers, (iv) manure, and (v) biocides, for six successive periods (63–31, 31–15, 15–7, 7–3, 3–1, and 1–0 yr before sampling). Only four land use types occurred: conventional-arable, conventional-grass, organic-arable, and organic-grass. The SOM contents ranged between 17 and 88 g kg−1 Regression models of the actual SOM content as a function of crop type and management in the different periods showed that SOM contents were increased under long-term grass or, to a lesser extent, by organic farming, when compared with conventional-arable use. The regression model depends on the nature of land use history in any particular region and on the length of the selected periods, but it provides an easy method to predict SOM content as a function of management in a given soil series. The method can be an alternative to simulation modeling in situations where detailed data records from long-term field experiments are not available.

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