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Soil Science Society of America Journal Abstract - SOIL & WATER MANAGEMENT & CONSERVATION

Conversion of Wheat–Maize to Vegetable Cropping Systems Changes Soil Organic Matter Characteristics


This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 74 No. 4, p. 1320-1326
    Received: June 16, 2009

    * Corresponding author(s): fanms@cau.edu.cn
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  1. Baokun Leia,
  2. Mingsheng Fan *a,
  3. Qing Chena,
  4. Johan Sixb and
  5. Fusuo Zhanga
  1. a Key Lab. of Plant Nutrition, Ministry of Agriculture, and Key Lab. of Plant–Soil Interactions, Ministry of Education, and College of Resources and Environ. Sci., China Agricultural Univ., Beijing 100094, China
    b Dep. of Plant Sciences, Univ. of California, Davis, CA 95616


We investigated the effects of land use conversion from cereal grain fields (GF) to greenhouse vegetable fields (VF) on total soil organic C (SOC) and total N (TN) and the labile soil organic matter pools dissolved organic C (DOC), permanganate-oxidizable C (POC), dissolved organic N (DON), mineral N, and microbial biomass C (MBC) in the top 30 cm of the soil profile. The soil samples were collected in 20 sets of paired soils (greenhouse vegetable vs. wheat [Triticum aestivum L.]–maize [Zea mays L.] rotation fields) in northeast China. Compared with those in GF, the SOC and TN concentrations in VF increased by 28 and 58%, respectively. The accumulation rate of TN vs. SOC, however, led to a significant decrease in soil C/N ratio in VF compared with GF systems. The greatest difference in C/N ratios between GF and VF was observed in the large macroaggregates (>2000 μm). Conversion to VF led to increased DOC, POC, and DON concentrations and an increase in the percentage of SOC as DOC and POC. The pH, MBC, and percentage of SOC as MBC, however, were lower in the VF than GF systems. Furthermore, a significant positive relationship was found between pH and MBC in the VF systems, while MBC was positively related to total SOC and POC in the GF systems. In conclusion, the results show tradeoffs between increasing SOC sequestration when agricultural land is converted from wheat–maize to vegetable systems and decreased C/N ratios and soil acidification. Improvements in soil and crop management for vegetable production systems in China, particularly the avoidance of excess N fertilizer and manure applications, are recommended.

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