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Soil Science Society of America Journal Abstract - DIVISION S-3 - SOIL BIOLOGY & BIOCHEMISTRY

Restoration of Microbial Residues in Soils of the Conservation Reserve Program


This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 65 No. 6, p. 1704-1709

    * Corresponding author(s): wulf.amelung@uni-bayreuth.de
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  1. W. Amelung *a,
  2. J. M. Kimbleb,
  3. S. Samson-Liebigb and
  4. R. F. Follettc
  1. a Inst. of Soil Science and Soil Geography, Univ. of Bayreuth, D-95440 Bayreuth, Germany
    b Natural Resources Conservation Service, 100 Centennial Mall North, Lincoln, NE 68516
    c USDA-ARS, Soil-Plant-Nutrient Research, 301 S. Howes St., P.O. Box E, Fort Collins, CO 80522-0470


To elucidate the role of microorganisms for C and N sequestration in arable soils converted to grassland (sites of the Conservation Reserve Program; CRP), we determined amino sugars as indicators for microbial residues in surface samples (0–5 cm) obtained from each of 10 adjacent native grassland, CRP, and cropland sites across the U.S. Great Plains. The CRP sites were 6 to 10 yr and the cropland sites were >80 yr old. Compared with native grasslands, the CRP sites had lost between 17 and 50% and the cropland sites between 32 and 94% of their surface soil organic matter (SOM). The C/N ratio was not significantly different among the three land-use systems, indicating that C and N losses occurred at similar intensity. The mean amino sugar concentrations decreased in the order native grassland (70 g kg−1 C; 750 g kg−1 N) > CRP (53 g kg−1 C; 570 g kg−1 N) > cropland (47 g kg−1 C; 450 g kg−1 N). This decrease in the element-normalized concentrations of amino sugars indicated that they responded faster to management than other C or N containing compounds. The response of individual amino sugars related to soil compaction and the temperature regime. We suggest that the resequestration of C and N into the residues of bacteria and fungi requires several years, but as it depends on land use it could be manipulated using, for example, soil decompacting techniques to improve CRP efficiency.

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Copyright © 2001. Soil Science SocietyPublished in Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J.65:1704–1709.