Variation of soil organic carbon, stable isotopes, and soil quality indicators across an erosion–deposition catena in a historical Spanish olive orchard

Gómez, José A.; Guzmán, Gema; Toloza, Arsenio; Resch, Christian; García-Ruíz, Roberto; Mabit, Lionel

This study compares the distribution of bulk soil organic carbon (SOC), its fractions (unprotected and physically, chemically, and biochemically protected), available phosphorus (Pinline-formulaavail), organic nitrogen (Ninline-formulaorg), and stable isotope (inline-formulaδ15N and inline-formulaδ13C) signatures at four soil depths (0–10, 10–20, 20–30, and 30–40 cm) between a nearby open forest reference area and a historical olive orchard (established in 1856) located in southern Spain. In addition, these soil properties, as well as water stable aggregates (inline-formulaWsagg), were contrasted at eroding and deposition areas within the olive orchard, previously determined using inline-formula137Cs. SOC stock in the olive orchard (about 40 t C hainline-formula−1) was only 25 % of that in the forested area (about 160 t C hainline-formula−1) in the upper 40 cm of soil, and the reduction was especially severe in the unprotected organic carbon. The reference and the orchard soils also showed significant differences in the inline-formulaδ13C and inline-formulaδ15N signals, likely due to the different vegetation composition and N dynamics in both areas. Soil properties along a catena, from erosion to deposition areas within the old olive orchard, showed large differences. Soil Cinline-formulaorg, Pinline-formulaavail and Ninline-formulaorg content, and inline-formulaδ15N at the deposition were significantly higher than those of the erosion area, defining two distinct areas with a different soil quality status. These overall results indicate that the proper understanding of Cinline-formulaorg content and soil quality in olive orchards requires the consideration of the spatial variability induced by erosion–deposition processes for a convenient appraisal at the farm scale.

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Gómez, José A. / Guzmán, Gema / Toloza, Arsenio / et al: Variation of soil organic carbon, stable isotopes, and soil quality indicators across an erosion–deposition catena in a historical Spanish olive orchard. 2020. Copernicus Publications.

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Rechteinhaber: José A. Gómez et al.

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