The Home Field Advantage theory could be used for carbon sequestration and forest management?

Dr Nicolas Valette1,2, Dr Eric Gelhaye2, Dr Gry Alfredsen3, Dr Barry Goodell4, Dr Delphine Derrien1

1INRA, Biogeochemistry of Forest Ecosystems, Nancy, France, 2INRA-Lorraine University, Interactions Arbres Micro-organismes, Nancy, France, 3Norwegian institute of bioeconomy reseach, As, Norway, 4University of Massachusetts, Departement of microbiology, Amherst, USA

Forest soils represent a third of the terrestrial area and have a key role in carbon cycle and climate mitigation, as they store between 50 and 80% of the global stock of soil organic carbon (SOC). The major precursor of forest SOC is the dead wood mainly composed by three polymers: cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin. In coniferous forest, they are recycled mainly by brown rot fungi and specific bacterial communities. Brown rot fungi are able to mineralize polysaccharidic part and only modify the lignin chemically using hydroxy radicals in a mediated-Fenton reaction. Some recent findings suggest that the associated bacterial communities could be responsible for the degradation of the persisting altered lignin residues.

According to the Home Field Advantage theory the decomposition rate is more rapid and efficient when litter is placed beneath the natural plant species than beneath a different plant species. We hypothesize that the specific bacterial communities, which co-occur with brown rot are important for the velocity and efficiency of lignin degradation. Therefore, microbial communities from a broadleaf stand would be less efficient than coniferous communities. To test this hypothesis, wood blocks from Poplar, Norway spruce and Beech were pre-degraded by Gloeophyllum trabeum a brown rot fungus. When mass loss reached around 25 %, they were buried under litter layer either in a Norway spruce stand or a Beech stand. After 6 months, wood blocks will be collected. Wood mass loss and chemical changes will be assessed. Moreover, a metabarcoding approach will be performed to determine the microbial communities potentially responsible for wood degradation. These results could be translated into recommendations for forest management to optimize soil carbon sequestration under altered lignin form.


Nicolas Valette is a young postdoctoral researcher in microbial ecology. He is working with two team belong to INRA center of Nancy: Trees-Microbes Interactions and Biogeochemistry of Forests Ecosystems. He is involved in a research project named BRAWO whose the aim is to better understand the fate of lignin into forest ecosystems and more particularly the impact of wood decay fungi in its carbon recycling.

Organosolv lignin as artificial particulate organic matter for soil restoration and carbon sequestration

Mr Oliver Levers1, Professor Jason Hallett1, Professor Rob Law1, Professor Jon Lloyd1

1Imperial College London, South Kensington, United Kingdom

Lignin, produced as a waste product of biomass processing, has the potential to be used as a soil amendment. Utilising wastes in this way increases the carbon sequestration potential of the bio-refinery via increasing carbon stocks stored in the soil. Additionally, lignin may also improve soil structure and health. Second-generation biomass processing technologies produce less chemically modified lignin as a biproduct which better mimics natural residues found in soils, compared to more chemically modified Kraft lignin. These more natural lignins take the form of insoluble powders, and are clearly shown to bind and interact with clay to form stable aggregates. Here, interactions with clays (kaolinite/montmorillonite) are demonstrated, and the formation of particulate-clay interactions are investigated following wet/dry cycles. This research utilises a new method of characterising particulate interactions with clay minerals, without the need for advanced spectroscopic instrumentation such as atomic force microscopy. Additionally, the disruption of particulate interactions by water are investigated via slaking analysis, using a modified flow cell. Video image analysis is used to determine slaking kinetics, which illustrates different breakdown processes occurring on different timescales – related to aggregate composition and porosity. These results clearly demonstrate the potential of technical lignin to increase soil aggregation and increase resistance to slaking via purely abiotic means. Additionally, these results demonstrate new methods to determine particulate-clay interactions and slaking breakdown kinetics, which can be used to engineer better soil amendments.


Biochar effects on native soil carbon stocks five years after application

Dr Xinliang Dong1,2, Dr Guitong Li2, Prof Bhupinderpal Singh3

1The Center For Agricultural Resources Research, Institute Of Genetics And Developmental Biology, CAS, Shijiazhuang, China, 2China Agriculture University, Beijing, China, 3University of New England, Armidale, Australia

An understanding of the influence of biochar on soil organic carbon (SOC) formed from different carbon (C) sources, other than biochar, at field scale is required to accurately assess and predict the C sequestration potential following application of biochar. For this study, we set up a field experiment in 2009, including four treatments (i.e. B0, B30, B60, and B90, where the biochar application rates were 0, 30, 60, and 90 t ha-1, respectively). We then assessed the impact of biochar on native SOC derived from different plants (C3 and C4) and different SOC fractions, and biochar effect on SIC compositions. After five years, the content of native SOC derived from crop residues increased by 81% (from 4.32 to 7.84 g kg-1) in the B0 treatment, while the increases of native SOC were relatively lower in the B30 (61%), B60 (43%), and B90 (26%) treatments. Thus biochar decreased the content of native SOC compared to the B0. Additionally, biochar decreased “labile pool I” (first-step, weak acid hydrolysable) of native SOC by 11.2–47.7%, compared to the B0, but did not influence “labile pool II” (second-step, strong acid hydolysable) and “recalcitrant pool” (acid non-hydolysable). Using the natural abundance 13C, our results showed that 62–74% of the native SOC was derived from wheat across all the treatments. Biochar application decreased the contribution of wheat-derived C to native SOC by 14.7, 29.0, and 41.5% in the B30, B60, and B90 treatments, respectively, while the content of maize-derived native SOC did not change, relative to the B0. In addition, as biochar application rate increased, δ13C of native soil inorganic C (SIC) decreased, which indicated that pedogenic inorganic C was formed. Biochar application rates were positively related to the pedogenic inorganic C content; however, it did not influence the lithogenic inorganic C content. In summary, the results showed that the long-term (five years) biochar application can improve SIC content, while decreasing native SOC content.


Xinliang Dong studied soil science at the China Agriculture University, where he earned his PhD in 2017. Dr. Dong’s research focuses on the dynamics of soil organic matter derived from different plant sources, and biochar effect on soil organic carbon fractionations.

Soil carbon sequestration and structural evaluation of organic matter from integrated crop-livestock-forest systems

Dr Amanda Tadini1, Dr. Ladislau Martin-Neto1, Dr. Débora M.B.P. Milori1, Dr. Alberto C. C. Bernardi2

1Embrapa Instrumentação, São Carlos, SP, Brazil, São Carlos, Brazil, 2Embrapa Pecuária Sudeste, São Carlos, SP, Brazil, São Carlos, Brasil

The current challenge in Brazilian agriculture is to maintain and advance the productive capacity of soils by using green technologies that are capable of promoting the sustainable growth of agricultural production. Soil organic matter (SOM) plays an important role in environmental sustainability and it is a central component in the Brazilian Low Carbon Agriculture Plan. This plan has seven main eligible agricultural practices including adoption of Integrated Crop-Livestock-Forest Systems (ICLF). In this study were compared data from ICLF and native forest areas from a dystrophic Red-Yellow Latosol (Oxisol) in an experimental field of Embrapa, in São Paulo State, Brazil. After 5 years of experiment soil carbon content was determined by CHN analysis, and structural aspects analysis of SOM performed, as humification degree, detected by Laser Induced Fluorescence Spectroscopy (LIFS) with whole soil samples measurements, and aromaticity degree of soil humic acids obtained by 13C Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) analysis. An increase of around 20% in soil C content in ICLF comparatively to native forest areas was determined, indicating soil carbon sequestration. SOM humification degree, determined by LIFS, from whole soil samples indicated an increase with soil depth (until 1m) and higher values in areas under ICLF comparatively to native forest. Aromaticity degree measurements of humic acids, determined by 13C NMR, indicated similar pattern results obtained with SOM humification degree, detected by LIFS, with the Pearson correlation R= 0.86, showing consistent SOM structural aspects. So current field experiment aligned with spectroscopic analysis permitted to identify soil carbon sequestration in ICLF areas, with relatively higher organic matter chemical stability, compared to native forest areas. These are additional evidences that ICLF in tropical regions is an agricultural sustainable intensification practice.

Grazing into the future: Building soil carbon using perennial pasture species

Dr Zakaria Solaiman1,2, E/Professor Lynette Abbott1,2, Dr Natasha Pauli1, Mr Rob Rex3, Mrs Caroline Rex3

1SoilsWest, UWA School of Agriculture and Environment, University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia, 2UWA Institute of Agriculture, University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia, 3Westendale Grazing, Wagin, Australia

This study investigated the quantification and prediction of changes in soil carbon in perennial pastures under cell grazing. Limited data are available to quantify the amount of carbon that could be stored in WA wheatbelt soils using cell grazing practices. The objective was to measure the change in soil carbon associated with pasture management practices for different aged mixed perennial and annual pastures using a chronosequence of pastures sown in 2003, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2011 and 2012. Inclusion of perennial grasses in pastures is uncommon in the Arthur River region of Western Australia but they have potential to increase soil carbon. Soil carbon was highest in the oldest established perennial pastures in the chronosequence. An increase in soil carbon was measured between 2012 and 2014 for 2 of the 6 sites in the chronosequence. An increase in soil carbon between 2012 and 2014 measured for perennial pastures established in 2005 and 2007 was likely to be associated with improved soil management (including liming) that resulted in increased productivity at these sites. Both sites had a history of poor soil conditions but this had recently been observed to improve.

The farmer-researcher collaboration in this project provided two-way exchange of knowledge that has led to a number of suggestions for further investigation relevant to pasture management. For example, inconsistencies in relationships between pasture management practices and soil chemical measurements, the potential requirement for soil disturbance in management of perennial pastures, the time required for improvement in relation to soil quality, limitations in perennial productivity, the economic potential for management of perennial pastures compared with annual pastures (on soils of different quality), tipping points in relation to improvements in soil carbon and pasture production, were all areas of further potential research identified in the final workshop by farmers, consultants and researchers.


Dr Zakaria Solaiman is a soil microbiologist with over 20 years’ research experience in arbuscular mycorrhizal symbiosis, soil carbon sequestration, biochar and plant nutrition. After completing his PhD in Agriculture (soil microbiology and plant nutrition), he held several postdoctoral positions in Japan before joining The University of Western Australia in 2000. He is currently working as a Research Fellow in an ARC (Australian Research Council) Linkage Project on “Characterisation of soil microbial interactions for increased efficacy of herbicides using novel fertiliser management practices”. He also worked as a Research Associate at The University of Adelaide on an ARC Discovery Project on “Plant-soil-microbe interactions at rhizosphere” before returning to UWA in 2006. Since then, Zakaria is working in a range of research in collaboration with researchers from the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, Western Australia and many other industry partners.

Links between soil carbon sequestration, root elongation rate and functional traits in 12 herbaceous species

Mr Lorenzo Rossi1,4, Dr. Zhun Mao1, Dr. Luis Merino-Martin1,2, Dr. Catherine Roumet2, Dr. Florian Fort2, Dr. Hassan Boukcim3, Dr. Nathalie Fromin2, Dr. Alexia Stokes1

1AMAP, INRA, IRD, CIRAD, CNRS, University of Montpellier, 34398, Montpellier, France, 2CEFE, CNRS, Univ Montpellier, Univ Paul Valéry Montpellier 3, EPHE, IRD, , Montpellier, France, 3Valorhiz SAS, 1900 Boulevard de la Lironde, Montferrier-sur-Lez, France, 4University of Cassino, Cassino, Italy

Infrastructures are increasing rapidly, and soils are excavated, and then abandoned or revegetated. With the right type of vegetation, these soils could provide several ecosystem services, such as carbon (C) sequestration, reduced erosion rates and enhanced biodiversity. We investigated C sequestration in soil sown with 12 herbaceous species used to revegetate road embankments in southern France. Species were planted as monocultures in 78 steel boxes (0.7 m width x 0.7 m width x 0.3 m depth), that were inclined at 30° to mimic an embankment (6 replicates for each species + 6 bare soil controls). Three replicates were used for soil C analysis and three were equipped with rhizotrons (0.2×0.3m wide and 0.05m thick), for the study of root dynamics. As soon as the first root was visible in the rhizotron, we scanned every two weeks using a smartphone scanner and analyzed images with SmartRoot software. Roots were classed into fine ‘absorptive’ and thicker ‘transport’ roots depending on their topological order. Root elongation rate (RER) and root length production (RLP) were calculated. After ten months, soil samples were collected for fractioning and measurement of C in: particulate organic matter (CPOM) in the 2000-200 µm fraction, fine POM (CfinePOM) in the 50-200µm coarse silt fraction; CSILT in the 20-50 µm fraction and CSILT+CLAY in the <20 µm fraction. Overall, the total C in soil increased over 10 months under all species, but it was constantly reduced in the CSILT+CLAY fraction. RLP of old roots (>two weeks in rhizotron) and the diameter of absorptive roots were significantly correlated with an increase in CSILT only, where C has a longer residence time compared to the larger particulate fractions. Planting species with the appropriate traits could enhance C sequestration on revegetated land, but a better mechanistic understanding of the relationships between roots and C sequestration into different soil fractions is required.

Biography: Lorenzo Rossi is an agronomist specialized in soil sciences, currently carrying out his Joint Ph.D. between INRA Montpellier and Cassino University. His study focuses on sustainable geotechnical infrastructures and technologies, more specifically he is investigating the potential of embankments to act as active carbon sinks

Corncob-derived low-pyrolysis temperature biochar protects soil organic (C) and improves C use efficiency and soil quality of semi-arid climate alkaline soil

Dr Muhammad Riaz1, Dr.  Muhammad Saleem Arif1, Dr. Qaiser  Hussain2, Mrs. Samar  Fatima1, Dr. Tahira Yasmeen1, Dr. Muhammad Arif3

1Department of Environmental Sciences & Engineering, Government College University Faisalabad, Pakistan, Faisalabad, Pakistan, 2Department of Soil Sciences & Soil Water Conservation, PMAS Arid Agricultural University Rawalpindi, Pakistan , Rawalpindi, Pakistan , 3Department of Agronomy, The University of Agriculture Peshawar, Pakistan , Peshawar, Pakistan

Biochar is a carbon rich product derived from pyrolysis of organic material which improves soil biogeochemical properties and crop production. This incubation study investigated the effects of corncob-derived biochar on native and fresh organic matter (corncob residue) decomposition in nutrient poor Aridisol. The surface soil (0-15 cm layer; <0.1% organic matter) used in the experiment was collected form an agricultural field under wheat cultivation. The treatments included: 1) unamended control, 2) residue (2% w/w), 3) biochar (2% w/w), and 4) residue + biochar (1% each, w/w). Rate of biochar and corncob residue application either alone or combined was equivalent to 45 tons/ha. Each treatment was replicated four times and microcosms were incubated in an incubator following completely randomized design (CRD) at 70% water holding capacity and 25 °C for 54 days. Soil C mineralization was quantified by measuring soil respiration. At the end of the experiment, soil samples were analyzed for soil C and N mineralization indicators, and some physico-chemical properties. Biochar reduced decomposition of fresh organic matter and decreased cumulative respiration by inducing negative priming effect. Decrease in C mineralization in biochar amended soil could be due to the strong adsorption of soluble soil C, nutrients and microbes on the surface of biochar resulting in enhanced C use efficiency and reduction in activity of C mineralization enzymes. Another mechanism for the reduced rate of C mineralization could be CO₂ adsorption on biochar surface as carbonate. The decrease in mineral N after biochar incorporation could indicate that organic N was assimilated into microbial biomass rather than being mineralized. In conclusion, biochar could decrease C mineralization but enhanced microbial C use efficiency. It, therefore, offers an important management strategy to improve C sequestration in nutrient and organic C deficient alkaline soil by altering mineral associated & particulate organic matter.


Dr. Muhammad Riaz is working as an Associate Professor in the Department of Environmental Sciences & Engineering, Government College University Faisalabad (GCUF), Pakistan. He earned his PhD in Environmental Sciences from the University of York, UK. His research is mainly focused on soil biogeochemistry, CNP cycling in agroecosystems, biochar as a tool for soil C sequestration and soil quality management, and dynamics of soil organic matter cycling and recycling in semi-arid and arid agroecosystems.

Composting and compost utilization in rice paddy field: Trade-off between greenhouse gas emission and soil carbon sequestration in whole rice cropping system

Professor Sang Yoon Kim2, Dr Seung Tak  Jeong1, Prof. Pil Joo Kim1

1Gyeongsang Narional University, Jinju, South Korea, 2Sunchon National University, Suncheon, South Korea

Organic matter applications showed contrasting effects on soil quality and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, in particular methane (CH4) emission in a rice cropping system. Therefore, to mitigate CH4 emissions, stabilized manure like compost and biochar is recommended without considering the additional GHG emissions during the industrial processes and soil organic carbon (SOC) stock changes. To determine the integrated effect of compost utilization on the net global warming potential (GWP) of a rice cropping system, the fluxes of GHGs during the whole process were computed using a life cycle assessment (LCA) method. The model framework was composed of GHG fluxes from two compartments: the industrial activities, and the composting and rice cropping processes. Since manure application can increase SOC stock, the annual SOC stock changes were analyzed by the net ecosystem C budget (NECB) which implies the difference between C input and output. Manure applications significantly increased rice productivity and the net primary production (NPP) as a C input source without difference between fresh and composted manures. NPK+fresh manure application significantly increased CH4 and N2O emissions by 81% and 37% over the NPK treatment in rice cropping system, respectively, and depleted SOC stock with 1.3Mg C ha-1 year-1, due to priming effect. As a result, NPK+fresh manure application increased the net GWP by 80% over the NPK treatment. In comparison, NPK+compost utilization decreased the net GWP by 30% over that of the NPK+fresh manure during the whole process. Manure composting increased the GWP of the industrial processes by 7%, but the 20% reduction of CH4 flux and 0.5 Mg C ha-1 year-1 of SOC stock increase significantly decreased the net GWP during the whole rice cropping process. As a result, the GHG intensity which means the net GWP per gain yield was not different between the NPK+composted manure and the NPK treatments. In conclusion, compost application can be a reasonable soil management strategy to reduce GHG emission impact and to increase crop productivity in rice cropping systems.


Pil Joo Kim got Ph. D in 1997, and has served as a professor at Gyeongsang National University, South Korea since 2001. He published over 200 peer reviewed journal articles, which focused mostly on improving soil fertility and minimizing GHG emissions. He supervised 30 MS and 19 Ph. D students. He served as the vice-chairperson of Division 2, IUSS from 2010-2014, and contributed to the success of the 20th WCSS as Editing & Academic Committee chair. He is working as a vice president at Korean Society of Soil Science and Fertilizer.

Dynamics of residue 13C and 15N at various depths in diverse soils

Dr Monika Gorzelak1, Dr Ed Gregorich2, Dr Bobbi Helgason4, Dr Mike Beare3, Dr Denis Curtin3, Dr Ben Ellert1, Dr Henry Janzen1

1Agriculture And Agri-food Canada, Lethbridge, Canada, 2Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Ottawa, Canada, 3The New Zealand Institute of Plant and Food Research, Christchurch, New Zealand, 4University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada

Plant litter decay and the persistence of its carbon (C) and nitrogen(N) crucially affect soil health and can impact soil carbon sequestration. We conducted a long-term experiment that asks: does the depth in soil profiles influence the processes and extent of residue turnover? Barley residue, highly enriched with 13C and 15N, was placed in mesh bags and buried at three depths in the soil profile (5-10 cm, 20-25 cm, 40-45 cm) at three sites with different climate and soil properties (Lincoln, New Zealand; Ottawa and Lethbridge Canada). The mesh bags were periodically retrieved over about a decade, and analyzed for 13C and 15N to determine recovery and also distribution in microbial phospholipid fatty acids (PLFA). At all sites and treatments, decay followed typical 1st-order kinetics, with high initial rates gradually diminishing over time. Decomposition was slower in the cold site (Lethbridge) than at other sites (Ottawa, Lincoln). Depth in soil profiles had no consistent effect on recovery of 13C, even though the residue was processed by different microbial communities, as determined by PLFA analysis. Dynamics of 15N showed patterns similar to those of 13C, although recovery was usually higher, indicating recycling of the N. The absence of a strong depth effect on litter turnover raises intriguing questions about opportunities for sequestering C in soil profiles, and invites further study of how microbes at depth process C and N inputs.


Monika Gorzelak is a new Soil Health Research Scientist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada specializing in soil microbial ecology. She has a PhD from UBC in Vancouver Canada with a thesis on communication between trees through mycorrhizal networks.

The effects of long term no-tillage on the chemical composition of soil organic matter

小姐 Qiqi Gao1, Mr Zhangliu Du1

1Institute Of Environment And Sustainable Development In Agriculture, Chinese Academy Of Agricultural Sciences, Beijing, China

No-tillage is considered as a potential measure to improve soil organic matter (SOM). In this study, we focused on the impact of different tillage practices on the chemical composition of SOM at molecular level based on a 17-year no-tillage field experiment in the North China. Soil samples were collected from 0-10 cm soil layer under three tillage treatments, including conventional tillage with straw incorporation (CT), rotary tillage with straw application (RT) and no-tillage with straw mulching (NT). Then, solvent extraction and CuO oxidation were used to characterize free compounds and lignin-derived phenols. The results showed that the concentrations of total n-alkanols were increased by 40.7% under NT and 15.5% under RT compared with CT, and the n-alkanols under NT was higher by 21.8% than that of RT. As for the total carbohydrates, NT increased by 66.9% but RT decreased by 58.6% relative to CT, whereas NT had 3.04 times higher carbohydrates than RT. In contrast, the short-chain n-alkanoic acids (<C20) concentrations under NT were lower by 15.1% than that of CT, while the long-chain n-alkanoic acids (≥C20) concentrations under RT were higher by 13.2% than that of CT. Overall, NT significantly decreased the n-alkanoic acids by 25.0% compared with RT. Moreover, the concentrations of lignin monomers under NT and RT were increased by 55.7% and 32.1% than that of CT, while NT had 17.9% higher lignin monomers concentrations than RT in the 0-10 cm soil layer. The lignin degradation was reflected by elevated ratios of syringic acid to syringaldehyde ((Ad/Al)s) and vanillic acid to vanillin ((Ad/Al)v). The (Ad/Al)s under NT was lower than that of CT and RT, while no significant changes in (Ad/Al)v were observed between treatments . We concluded that shifting from conventional tillage to no-tillage changed the chemical composition of SOM under the experimental condition.

Biography: My research interests lie in the field of terrestrial soil organic matter (SOM) biogeochemistry. I am interested in the mechanisms and process that act to stabilize and destabilize SOM in surface soils. Currently, I focus on the feedbacks between the management options (e.g., tillage, residues, manure, and biochar) and SOM transformations.


7th International Symposium
Soil Organic Matter

6 – 11 October 2019

Hilton Adelaide

Adelaide, South Australia


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