Nitrogen cycling from increased soil organic carbon contributes both positively and negatively to ecosystem services in wheat agro-ecosystems

Palmer, Jeda, Thorburn, Peter J., Biggs, Jody S., Dominati, Estelle J., Probert, Merv E., Meier, Elizabeth A., Huth, Neil I., Dodd, Mike, Snow, Val, Larsen, Joshua R. and Parton, William J. (2017) Nitrogen cycling from increased soil organic carbon contributes both positively and negatively to ecosystem services in wheat agro-ecosystems. Frontiers in Plant Science , 8 . doi:10.3389/fpls.2017.00731


Author Palmer, Jeda
Thorburn, Peter J.
Biggs, Jody S.
Dominati, Estelle J.
Probert, Merv E.
Meier, Elizabeth A.
Huth, Neil I.
Dodd, Mike
Snow, Val
Larsen, Joshua R.
Parton, William J.
Title Nitrogen cycling from increased soil organic carbon contributes both positively and negatively to ecosystem services in wheat agro-ecosystems
Journal name Frontiers in Plant Science    Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1664-462X
Publication date 2017-05-10
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.3389/fpls.2017.00731
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 8
Total pages 13
Place of publication Lausanne, Switzerland
Publisher Frontiers Research Foundation
Language eng
Subject 1110 Plant Science
Abstract Soil organic carbon (SOC) is an important and manageable property of soils that impacts on multiple ecosystem services through its effect on soil processes such as nitrogen (N) cycling and soil physical properties. There is considerable interest in increasing SOCconcentration in agro-ecosystems worldwide. In some agro-ecosystems, increased SOC has been found to enhance the provision of ecosystem services such as the provision of food. However, increased SOC may increase the environmental footprint of some agro-ecosystems, for example by increasing nitrous oxide emissions. Given this uncertainty, progress is needed in quantifying the impact of increased SOCconcentration on agro-ecosystems. Increased SOC concentration affects both N cycling and soil physical properties (i.e., water holding capacity). Thus, the aim of this study was to quantify the contribution, both positive and negative, of increased SOC concentration on ecosystem services provided by wheat agro-ecosystems. We used the Agricultural Production Systems sIMulator (APSIM) to represent the effect of increased SOC concentration on N cycling and soil physical properties, and used model outputs as proxies for multiple ecosystem services from wheat production agro-ecosystems at seven locations around the world. Under increased SOC, we found that N cycling had a larger effect on a range of ecosystem services (food provision, filtering of N, and nitrous oxide regulation) than soil physical properties. We predicted that food provision in thse agro-ecosystems could be significantly increased by increased SOCconcentration when N supply is limiting. Conversely, we predicted no significant benefit to food production from increasing SOC when soil N supply (from fertiliser and soil N stocks) is not limiting. The effect of increasing SOC on N cycling also led to significantly higher nitrous oxide emissions, although the relative increase was small. We also found that N losses via deepdrainage were minimally affectedby increasedSOCin the drylandagro-ecosystems studied, but increased in the irrigated agro-ecosystem. Therefore, we show that under increased SOC concentration, N cycling contributes both positively and negatively to ecosystem services depending on supply, while the effects on soil physical properties are negligible.
Keyword Agriculture
Drained upper limit
Lower limit
Modelling
Plant available water
Soil organic matter
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: HERDC Pre-Audit
School of Earth and Environmental Sciences
 
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