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Pedogenesis and carbon sequestration in transformed agricultural soils of Sicily


Egli, Markus; Bösiger, Michèle; Lamorski, Krzysztof; Sławiński, Cezary; Plötze, Michael; Wiesenberg, Guido L B; Tikhomirov, Dmitry; Musso, Alessandra; Hsu, Shao-Yiu; Raimondi, Salvatore (2021). Pedogenesis and carbon sequestration in transformed agricultural soils of Sicily. Geoderma, 402:115355.

Abstract

The increasing atmospheric CO2 concentration is a consequence of human activities leading to severe environmental deteriorations. Techniques are thus needed to sequester and reduce atmospheric carbon. One of the proposed techniques is the transformation or construction of new soils into which more organic carbon can be sequestered and CO2 be consumed by increased weathering. By using a chronosequence of new and transformed soils on crushed limestone (0–48 years) in a Mediterranean area (Sicily), we tried to quantify the amount of organic carbon that could be additionally sequestered and to derive the corresponding rates. A further aim was to trace chemical weathering and related CO2 consumption and the evolution of macropores that are relevant for water infiltration and plant nutrition. Owing to the irrigation of the table grape cultivation, the transformed soils developed fast. After about 48 years, the organic C stocks were near 12 kg m−2. The average org. C sequestration rates varied between 68 and 288 g m−2 yr−1. The C accumulation rates in the transformed soils are very high at the beginning and tend to decrease over (modelled) longer time scales. Over these 48 years, a substantial amount of carbonate was leached and reprecipitated as secondary carbonates. The proportion of secondary carbonates on the total inorganic carbon was up to 50%. Main mineralogical changes included the formation of interstratified clay minerals, the decrease of mica and increase of chloritic components as well as goethite. The atmospheric CO2 consumption due to silicate weathering was in the range of about 44–72 g C m−2 yr−1. Due to the high variability, the contribution of chemical weathering to CO2 consumption represents only an estimate. When summing up organic C sequestration and CO2 consumption by silicate weathering, rates in the order of 110–360 g C m−2 yr−1 are obtained. These are very high values. We estimated that high sequestration and CO2 consumption rates are maintained for about 50–100 years after soil transformation. The macropore volume decreased over the observed time span to half (from roughly 10 to 5 %). The transformation of soils may even amend their characteristics and increase agricultural production. Due to the relatively sandy character, enough macropores were present and no substantial compaction of the soils occurred. However, great caution has to be taken as such measures can trigger deterioration of both soil ecosystem services and soil quality.

Abstract

The increasing atmospheric CO2 concentration is a consequence of human activities leading to severe environmental deteriorations. Techniques are thus needed to sequester and reduce atmospheric carbon. One of the proposed techniques is the transformation or construction of new soils into which more organic carbon can be sequestered and CO2 be consumed by increased weathering. By using a chronosequence of new and transformed soils on crushed limestone (0–48 years) in a Mediterranean area (Sicily), we tried to quantify the amount of organic carbon that could be additionally sequestered and to derive the corresponding rates. A further aim was to trace chemical weathering and related CO2 consumption and the evolution of macropores that are relevant for water infiltration and plant nutrition. Owing to the irrigation of the table grape cultivation, the transformed soils developed fast. After about 48 years, the organic C stocks were near 12 kg m−2. The average org. C sequestration rates varied between 68 and 288 g m−2 yr−1. The C accumulation rates in the transformed soils are very high at the beginning and tend to decrease over (modelled) longer time scales. Over these 48 years, a substantial amount of carbonate was leached and reprecipitated as secondary carbonates. The proportion of secondary carbonates on the total inorganic carbon was up to 50%. Main mineralogical changes included the formation of interstratified clay minerals, the decrease of mica and increase of chloritic components as well as goethite. The atmospheric CO2 consumption due to silicate weathering was in the range of about 44–72 g C m−2 yr−1. Due to the high variability, the contribution of chemical weathering to CO2 consumption represents only an estimate. When summing up organic C sequestration and CO2 consumption by silicate weathering, rates in the order of 110–360 g C m−2 yr−1 are obtained. These are very high values. We estimated that high sequestration and CO2 consumption rates are maintained for about 50–100 years after soil transformation. The macropore volume decreased over the observed time span to half (from roughly 10 to 5 %). The transformation of soils may even amend their characteristics and increase agricultural production. Due to the relatively sandy character, enough macropores were present and no substantial compaction of the soils occurred. However, great caution has to be taken as such measures can trigger deterioration of both soil ecosystem services and soil quality.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
Dewey Decimal Classification:910 Geography & travel
Scopus Subject Areas:Life Sciences > Soil Science
Uncontrolled Keywords:Soil Science
Language:English
Date:1 November 2021
Deposited On:27 Aug 2021 08:21
Last Modified:28 Aug 2021 20:00
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0016-7061
OA Status:Hybrid
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geoderma.2021.115355

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