The Hydrophobicity Characteristics and IR Spectra of Tropical Peat Soil : Case Study of Land Use Change in Ex Mega Rice Project Kalimantan

Dr Zafrullah Damanik1, Dr.  FENGKY FLORANTE ADJI1, Dr. Nina Yulianti1, Dr. Laura Graham2, Ms Amanda Sinclair3, Dr. Samantha Groover3

1Cimtrop, University Of Palangka Raya, Palangka Raya, Indonesia, 2Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation, Palangka Raya, Indonesia, 3RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia

The over drainage due big canals, deforestation and land use change in Kalimantan peatland when Mega Rice Project (MRP) starts  caused environmental problems, especially fires and decreased quality of peat soils. The increase of hydrophobicity or irreversible drying is one indicator of the decline in the quality of peat soils. It’s found in degraded and burned peatlands. This study aims to study the effect of land use change on FTIR spectra and its relation to the hydrophobicity of peat soil. Surface soil samples of peat soil were taken from the Mentangai Central Kalimantan region (Block A Ex-MRP Project) with different land uses (secondary forest, burnt, oil palm, and revegetation area), to determine C-organic contents, FTIR spectra and hydrophobicity. The results showed that there were differences in percent of C-aliphatic area and hydrophobicity index between each land use. The parameters of the hydrophobicity index can be used to evaluate the quality of peat soil in relation to land use changes.


LIFE Nadapta: Considering soils vulnerability and resilience in a regional adaptation strategy of agriculture to the effects of climate change

Mr Rodrigo Antón1, Mr Alberto  Ruiz1, Dr Francisco Javier Arricibita1, Dra Isabel de Soto1, Dr Alberto  Enrique1, Dr Luis Orcaray2, Dr Iñigo Virto1

1Departamento de Ciencias. Universidad Pública de Navarra, Pamplona, Spain, 2Instituto Navarro de Tecnologías e Infraestructuras Agroalimentarias, Villava, Spain

Because of the high vulnerability of agriculture, which is highly climate-dependent, farmers need crops and agricultural systems that consider the climate change effects. The IPCC defines the risk of climate-related impacts as the results of the interaction of climate-related hazards with the vulnerability and exposure of systems, and also explain how the adaptation of a system can modulate this vulnerability, and also reduce exposure to different hazards. In this context, the LIFE Nadapta project includes, among a number of strategies for improving the adaption of the region (Navarre, SPAIN) to climate change, an adaptation strategy intended to increase the resilience of agrosystems, especially in relation to one of the most important production factors: the agricultural soil.

Considering the diversity of this region and the variety of agricultural practices spread throughout it, the work was conducted at three levels: First, a vulnerability study of agricultural soils was conducted at the regional level after zoning out the region into 12 homogeneous areas, identifying critical soil characteristics in each of them. Second, a network of up to 150 control plots was created, in which a number of indicators related to vulnerability and resilience were analyzed, encompassing the diversity of both soil types and management systems. Finally, threshold and target values of each indicator will be set for each area and monitored along the 8 years of the project.

The proposed set of indicators, defined according to climatic drivers and the chains of impact they generate, is classified into two levels. Those related to the intrinsic characteristics of the soil, vulnerability indicators, and those potentially modifiable by management, dynamic indicators, which allow monitoring the evolution of this vulnerability. SOC is one of the main indicator proposed for long-term monitoring of the agrosystems vulnerability, as well as water retention capacity, bulk density and structural stability.


Rodrigo Antón is PhD student at the Soil Science lab at Universidad Pública de Navarra (UPNA). He joined UPNA in 2013 after completing his postgraduate education at Institut Agronomique Méditerranéen de Montpellier (France) and he has since then participated in a number of projects related to soil quality and management.

Effects of nitrogen loss on SOC decomposition and its regulation by temperature and moisture

Mr Xiaodong Yao1,2, Dr Wenjing Zeng1, Miss Xinyue Chen1, Mr Yanyu Deng1,2, Prof. Wei Wang1

1Department of Ecology, College of Urban and Environment Sciences and Key Laboratory for Surface Processes of the Ministry of Education, Peking University, Beijing, China, 2Peking University Shenzhen Graduate School Shenzhen University Town, Shenzhen, China

Soil nitrogen (N) availability becomes the main regulator of carbon (C) cycling. At present, most researches focus on the effects of N addition on soil organic C (SOC) decomposition, but the study of N loss was very lacking. Actually, there are many processes of N loss in ecosystem, such as nitrification and denitrification, volatilization of ammonium and nitrate N, leaching/surface runoff and soil erosion, and nutrient uptake by plant roots. In addition, N availability has a significant interaction with temperature and moisture. Therefore, An ion exchange membrane technique will be used to absorb inorganic N in the soil to simulate N loss, and examine the effect of N loss on SOC decomposition and its mechanism. We collect 240 soil samples from 60 plots in the agro-pastoral ecotone of northern China. Soil samples will be subject to long-term indoor incubation experiment, which combined with N addition and N loss treatment and different temperature and water gradients. Variations of soil microbial respiration rate, decomposition rate of different carbon pools, and biotic and abiotic factors will be measured. This study will contribute to the C process simulation and theoretical improvement of terrestrial ecosystems, accurately predict the relationships among SOC dynamics and N, water and temperature and their feedback on climate change.


XIAODONG YAO, PhD Student of School of Urban and Environmental Sciences, Peking University and Peking University Shenzhen Graduate School. My academic interests are soil ecology and global change ecology. My research focuses on the following aspects. 1) effects of nitrogen availability on soil organic carbon stability and its mechanism; 2) stoichiometry and driving mechanism of soil, microorganism and extracellular enzyme activity. I have published papers in Science of The Total Environment and Pedosphere.

Vertical pattern and its driving factors in soil EEA and stoichiometry along mountain grassland belts

Miss Yiping Zuo1,2, Mr Jianping Li1, Prof. Hui Zeng1,2, Prof. Wei Wang1

1Department of Ecology, College of Urban and Environmental Sciences and Key Laboratory for Earth Surface Processes of the Ministry of Education, Peking University, Beijing, China, 2Peking University Shenzhen Graduate School, Shenzhen University Town, Shenzhen, China

Soil extracellular enzymes catalyze soil biochemical processes, and the geographical patterns of their activities and stoichiometry can reflect soil microbial functional dynamics. In previous research, latitudinal and longitudinal variations in soil extracellular enzyme activity (EEA) have been intensively investigated. However, its elevation patterns and depth variations (especially > 40 cm) received much less attention. Here, we measured potential activities of enzymes of carbon (C) (β-1,4-glucosidase), nitrogen (N) (β-1,4-N-acetylglucosaminidase; leucine aminopeptidase), and phosphorus (P) (acid phosphatase) up to 1 m soil depth along a vertical grassland belt in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, China. Soils were sampled from three elevation gradients (low, < 1000 m; mid, 1000–2000 m; high, 2000–3000 m) at five depths (0–10, 10–20, 20–40, 40–60, 60–100 cm). Soil EEA generally increased with elevation, while specific EEA normalized by microbial biomass C was lowest at mid-elevation. Both enzymatic C:N and C:P ratios were highest at mid-elevation. Soil EEA declined with depth but the extents varied with elevation. Depth variations in soil enzymatic stoichiometry also differed among three elevation gradients. Enzyme C:N and C:P ratios only decreased with soil depth at low elevation. From low to high elevation, enzyme N:P was highest at depths of 20–40 cm, 40–60 cm, and 0–10 cm, respectively. Key influential factors of soil EEA varied from low to high elevation. At low elevation, soil nutrient affected soil EEA indirectly through affecting microbial biomass. At mid-elevation, soil moisture influenced soil EEA directly and indirectly via pH. At high elevation, only soil pH impacted soil EEA directly.


Wei WANG, Ph.D., associate professor of School of Urban and Environmental Sciences, Peking University. My academic interests are soil ecology and global change ecology. Our research focuses on the following aspects. 1) effects of nitrogen availability on soil organic carbon stability; 2) stoichiometry and key driving factors of soil, microorganism and extracellular enzyme activity; 3) effects of nitrogen addition on diversity and function of degraded grasslands; 4) response of belowground carbon cycling to warming and plant diversity variation. We have published a series of papers in Global Change Biology, Soil Biology & Biochemistry and Forest Ecology & Management, and etc.

Agricultural management practices impact carbon and nutrient concentrations in aggregates from contrasting soils under long-term farming systems in Australia

Dr BhupinderPal Singh1, Dr Jharna Rani Sarker2, Dr Annette Cowie3, Dr Yunying Fang1, Mr Damian Collins1, Dr Warwick Badgery4, Prof Ram Dalal5

1NSW Department of Primary Industries, Elizabeth Macarthur Agricultural Institute, Menangle NSW 2568, Australia , Sydney/Menangle, Australia, 2University of New England, School of Environmental and Rural Science, Armidale, Australia, 3NSW Department of Primary Industries, Livestock Industries Centre, Armidale, Australia, 4NSW Department of Primary Industries, Orange Agricultural Institute, Orange, Australia, 5School of Agriculture and Food Sciences, The University of Queensland, St Lucia, Australia

There is a limited understanding of the impact of long-term management practices on soil organic carbon (SOC) and total nitrogen (N), sulphur (S) and phosphorus (P) concentrations in aggregates from different soils and consequent effects on SOC and nutrient storage in agro-ecosystems. Soils from long-term (16–46 years) management systems in semi-arid (Luvisol in Condobolin, NSW), Mediterranean (Luvisol in Merredin, WA) and sub-tropical (Vertisol in Hermitage, QLD) environments were collected (up to 30 cm depth). Dry- and wet-sieving techniques were used to fractionate the soils into mega-aggregates (>2mm), macro-aggregates (2–0.25mm), micro-aggregates (0.25–0.053mm), and silt-plus-clay (<0.053mm). The practices in the Luvisol were conventional (CT) and reduced tillage (RT) under mixed farming, no-till (NT) under continuous cropping, and perennial pasture (PP) at Condobolin, and stubble either retained (SR) or burnt (SB) under continuous cropping at Merredin. The practices in the Vertisol were CT, NT with either SR or SB under continuous cropping at Hermitage.

In the Luvisols, the practices had no effects on SOC and total N, S and P stocks (at all depths to 30 cm). However, in the Vertisol, the NT-SR showed higher SOC (p<0.10) and total N, S, and P (p<0.05) stocks than the other treatments at 0–10 cm only. The SOC and N concentrations were higher (p<0.05) in the wet-sieved silt-plus-clay fractions and mega-aggregates than macro- and micro-aggregates in the PP and NT at Condobolin, and SR at Merredin only (cf. other treatments at 0–10 cm). At Hermitage, SOC and N concentrations were in the order of dry- or wet-sieved silt-plus-clay ≥ micro-> mega- ≥ macro-aggregates in the NT-SR treatment only. Total S concentration was in the order of macro- ≥ micro- > mega-aggregates across all the treatments and was higher in the PP at Condobolin (0–10 cm), and in the SR at Merredin (all soil depths) than the other treatments. Further, at Merredin, both SR and SB had higher P concentration in macro- and micro- than mega-aggregates. In summary, although the PP, NT, and SR (compared with other treatments) had minimal impact on total SOC and nutrient stocks, these practices had higher SOC and/or nutrient concentrations in the finer aggregate fractions (silt-plus-clay or microaggregates). These findings suggest that sustainable farming practices such as minimal soil disturbance, stubble retention, and continual organic matter input in the systems are important for increasing SOC and nutrient storage while maintaining soil structural stability and building systems’ resilience.


Adjunct Professor Bhupinder Pal (“BP”) Singh is working as Principal Research Scientist with NSW Department of Primary Industries. His research interests are in the areas of soil science, ecology, biogeochemistry, and understanding the role of soil organic matter functionality, such as carbon and nutrient cycling in agro-ecosystems. Dr Singh disseminates his research outcomes to stakeholders, via invited lectures, field-day participation, and (inter)national conferences, underpinning improved management strategies for sustainable agriculture.

Carbon dynamics in soils: Evolution of organo-mineral interactions after a forest to vineyard transition

Miss Solène Quero1, Mrs Sophie Cornu1, Mr Nithavong Cam1, Mr Jérôme Balesdent1, Mr Adrien Duvivier1, Mr Daniel Borschneck1, Mrs Isabelle Basile-Doelsch1

1Aix Marseille Univ, CNRS, IRD, INRA, Coll France, CEREGE, Aix-En-Provence, France

Organo-mineral interactions are known to play a key role in stabilizing organic matter (OM) in soils because bonds between organic compounds and mineral surfaces minimize microbial degradation of organic compounds. A better understanding of the mechanisms that control the OM stabilization is therefore necessary, especially of those responsible for the destabilization of the nano-organo-mineral complexes following a forest to crop transition. Indeed, it is assumed that the mineral surfaces are not stable in time, but subject to weathering that leads to the formation of organo-mineral nano-complexes, called ” Short Range Order minerals- Organic Matter” (SRO-OM) here after. The hypothesis is that most of the stabilized soil organic matter are consist int these complexes. The idea is to show that the latter are destabilized by a land use change.

In that frame, a pair site approach consisting in two adjacent plots with different land uses, forest and vineyard respectively, was chosen. Poorly differentiated soils on granite were sampled at Plan de la Tour (83), in the Maures Massif (France). The two plots are located on the same agricultural terrace. Analyses of aerial photos and cadastral data shows that these two plots have experience the same land use for at least 100 years. Two soil profiles, 15 m apart, were described and sampled on pit. Chemical, particle-size distribution and mineralogical characterizations were performed to determine the degree of similarity of the two soils. The distribution of organic carbon contents and stocks in soils is highly contrasted between the two land uses. A tangential filtration physical fractionation method allowed to isolate the SRO-OM in the 10kDa – 200 nm size ranges of some horizons in order to understand if the differences in organic carbon contents and stocks observed in both profiles were related to differences in nature or quantity in these SRO-OM.


I graduated as an engineer, specializing in environmental sciences, from a leading engineering school of Agronomy and Food Industries (Nancy 2017, FRANCE).

During my last year of study, I did a 6-month internship at CIRAD, in Reunion Island. The purpose was to evaluate the carbon stocks of Reunion

Island’s soils, using mid-infrared spectroscopy.

Then, I have started a thesis at CEREGE (Aix-en-Provence 2017, FRANCE), under the supervision of Isabelle Basile-Doelsch (INRA) and Sophie Cornu (INRA). I am working on the evolution of organo-mineral interactions at nanoscale in soils, after a forest to crop transition.

Simulation in the changes in soil C and N stocks with the use and cover in a transitional Amazonian-Cerrado forest environment

Msc. Leiliane Zeferino1, Prof. Carlos Eduardo Cerri2, Prof. Teogenes Oliveira1

1Universidade Federal de Viçosa, Vicosa, Brazil, 2Escola Superior de Agricultura Luiz de Queiroz, Piracicaba, Brazil

The increase in global food demand together with climate change require sustainable agriculture that adopts practices to maximise productivity and minimise damage to the environment by CO2 emissions, favouring stocks of soil organic matter (SOM). Over the last 30 years, the transition environments of the Amazon-Cerrado Forest in the eastern Brazilian Amazon, has seen the removal of approximately 32.3 thousand ha of native vegetation, while areas of pasture have increased by 30 thousand ha. The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of converting forests to pasture on C and N stocks in transition environments, as well as the effects of different management practices on the sequestration of atmospheric CO2. The changes were simulated for the 0-20 cm layer using the Century model v 4.0, with adjustments to determine the parameters of biomass production. Simulated stocks of steady state SOM C and N under native vegetation were used to adjust the deforestation model and the subsequent establishment of pasture. Eight future production scenarios were simulated for 2050 and compared to the current situation of the lack of management practices (M), namely: M1: pasture managed without periodic renewal; M2: pasture with chemical control of spontaneous species; M3: pasture with top dressing only; M4: pasture with top dressing and maintenance fertiliser; M5: pasture with top dressing and maintenance fertiliser together with the chemical control of spontaneous species; M6: silvopastoral system with 30% tree cover; M7: pasture managed through the use of fire; and M8: grazing under intensive management. Except for M4, M5 and M8, all the other scenarios promoted an increase in the stocks of C and N in relation to the current situation of pasture management. The silvopastoral systems, irrespective of soil type, showed greater potential for maximising the sequestration of atmospheric C.


Teogenes Senna de Oliveira holds a PhD (1996) in Plant Science (Plant Production) at Federal University of Viçosa. I am currently a Full Professor at the Federal University of Viçosa. I am  developing academic and scientific activities that seek to evaluate the consequences of intensive soil use, together with the design and evaluation of more environmentally balanced agricultural systems, made possible through the understanding and application of concepts for reinforcing ecological processes and relationships with both high and low external-input cultivation systems: irrigated systems, mixed cropping (agroforestry) systems, organic, and minimum tillage systems, all with a view to strengthening ecological processes and relationships.

Impact of irrigation on soil carbon and nitrogen stocks

Dr Paul Mudge1, Dr Jack Pronger1, Alesha Roulston3, Dr Scott Fraser1, Dr Andre Eger2, Veronica Penny2, Danny Thornburrow1, Jamie Millar4, Prof Louis Schipper3

1Manaaki Whenua-Landcare Research, Hamilton, New Zealand, 2Manaaki Whenua-Landcare Research, Lincoln, New Zealand, 3University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand, 4Pioneer brand products NZ , Hamilton, New Zealand

Irrigation in New Zealand has increased rapidly in recent decades, yet there is surprisingly little known about the impact of irrigation on soil carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) stocks. Processes affecting both C and N inputs and outputs are altered by irrigation and therefore it is not easy to predict the net effect on soil C and N stocks and direct measurements are needed. A recent study revealed that on average irrigated pastoral soils from 30 sites across New Zealand had significantly less C and N than adjacent unirrigated pastures, with differences of 7 t C ha–1 and 0.6 t N ha–1 in the uppermost 0.3 m. Causes for these differences in C and N stocks are not well understood, but could have important implications for national carbon budgets and soil quality. Subsequently, we have sampled an additional 70 paired sites to determine whether the impact of irrigation on soil C and N differs by region, soil type and irrigation duration. Initial results from a directly aligned MSc student project focusing on Pumice Soils in the Reporoa Basin are consistent with the previous study, with less C in the irrigated compared to the unirrigated soils. Soil samples from paired sites in Hawkes Bay, Wairarapa, Canterbury and Otago are currently being analysed for total C and N and results from the full set of 100 paired sites (sampled to ≥0.3 m depth) will be presented. For a subset of paired sites we are also investigating what pools of C and N differ, rates of C and N cycling, the sensitivity of respiration to temperature and microbial community composition. Our ultimate aim is to identify where and how irrigation can be used to maintain, or increase soil organic matter and the multiple associated benefits.


Soil type and residue incorporation (tillage) affects the climate change mitigation potential of grassland soils

Mrs Elaine Mitchell1, Professor  Peter  Grace1, Dr.  David Rowlings1, Professor Francesca Cotrufo2, Professor Richard Conant2, Dr. Clemens Scheer1

1Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia, 2Colorado State University, Fort Collins, USA

Soil organic matter (SOM), the largest terrestrial carbon (C) pool, is fundamental to soil and ecosystem functions across a wide range of scales, from site-specific soil fertility and water holding capacity to global biogeochemical processes that influence carbon-climate feedbacks. Although management practices such as crop residue retention and organic amendments result in SOM accrual, their contribution to mitigating climate change may be offset by increased greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, particularly in finer textured soils due to enhanced microbial activity. Understanding the balance between ‘new’ SOM from residue inputs and how this interacts with native SOC and GHG fluxes is critical to assessing the effectiveness of land management practices as a climate change mitigation strategy. We tracked the fate of above-ground residues into functionally different SOM pools (persistent mineral-associated OM versus unprotected OM) and GHG fluxes using isotopically labelled residues (13C and 15N) over 12 months in a pasture soil in sub-tropical Australia. Residues were placed on three different soil types with varying texture and mineralogy within close proximity (< 2 km2) to each other. Residue management was simulated by either placing residue on the soil surface (i.e., no tillage) or incorporating it with the top 10 cm of soil (i.e., tillage). Soils with greater clay content resulted in a greater amount of SOM formation in more persistent mineral-associated SOM fractions. However, the greater SOC accrual in finer textured soils was offset by C priming of native SOC, resulting in a net C source. The incorporation of residue resulted in ~ 4 to 5 fold increase in SOC formation, highlighting that no-till systems might not always promote C sequestration. Overall results demonstrate the need to consider both soil properties and residue management as they affect the climate change mitigation potential of residue amendment to a grassland soil.


Elaine is currently a student at Queensland University of Technology. Her PhD focuses on using isotopically labelled biomass to trace the fate of above-ground residues to SOC and GHGs. Elaine completed her undergraduate and Masters education in the UK (Durham University and Cambridge University). Prior to her PhD, Elaine worked in the EU-CDM framework, initiating and maintaining agro-forestry projects in developing countries.

Changes in SOC content in a long term field experiment with different N rates

Prof. Milan Mesic1, Prof. Zeljka Zgorelec1, Dr. Aleksandra Percin1, Dr. Ivana Sestak1

1University Of Zagreb Faculty Of Agriculture, Zagreb, Croatia

There are numerous findings about the influence of mineral nitrogen fertilizer on SOC content. Results have not been consistent. Some authors report positive effects, however, some papers have shown a negative influence of nitrogen fertilization on total SOC content. Positive correlations are observed in semi arid, dry land areas in USA (Colorado and in Oklahoma). On the other hand, some scientists observed negative correlation after analyses of numerous long term cropping experiments. In addition, there are some results that conclude there is no influence of N fertilization on SOC. In our research with different amounts of mineral nitrogen (0 do 300 kg N ha-1) that was conducted on experimental field located within drained cropland in Western Pannonian subregion of Croatia, Europe (45°33´N, 16°31´E) we have found positive influence of nitrogen fertilization on SOC content. The soil type of trial site is drained distric Stagnosols. Objective of our work was to determine the effect of different nitrogen fertilization levels on changes in some soil chemical properties (pH, total N and SOC content). Soil sampling was carried out in 2010, 15 years later from the establishment of research field. Trial treatments included annual fertilization with different mineral nitrogen rates, respectively with 0, 100, 150, 200, 250 and 300 kg Nha-1. SOC and total nitrogen contents were determined by dry combustion method. SOC content in soil was in a range from 0.59-1.21 % in samples taken from treatments without applied nitrogen. In a treatment with 100 kg N ha-1 SOC content varied between 0.67 – 1.14 %. Increased rates of nitrogen increased SOC content up to maximum levels obtained in treatment with 300 kg of nitrogen – ranging between 1.00 – 2.14 %. Increased nitrogen rates caused decrease of soil pH and increase of TN content.


Prof. Dr. Milan Mesic, agricultural engineer, Dr.Sc., University of Zagreb Faculty of Agriculture, Department of General Agronomy, Full Professor.

Research: Assessment of soil quality through improved soil sampling schemes, precise information about soil properties, new possibilities for determination of soil properties including spectroradiometry and remote sensing, influence of nitrogen fertilization on water quality, soil properties and crop yields and quality, relations between nitrogen and carbon cycles in soils.


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