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Solid Earth An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 4, issue 1
Solid Earth, 4, 167–177, 2013
https://doi.org/10.5194/se-4-167-2013
© Author(s) 2013. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Solid Earth, 4, 167–177, 2013
https://doi.org/10.5194/se-4-167-2013
© Author(s) 2013. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 14 May 2013

Research article | 14 May 2013

Impacts of land use change in soil carbon and nitrogen in a Mediterranean agricultural area (Southern Spain)

L. Parras-Alcántara, M. Martín-Carrillo, and B. Lozano-García L. Parras-Alcántara et al.
  • Department of Agricultural Chemistry and Soil Science, Faculty of Science, Agrifood Campus of International Excellence, ceiA3, University of Cordoba, 14071 Cordoba, Spain

Abstract. The agricultural Mediterranean areas are dedicated to arable crops (AC), but in the last decades, a significant number of AC has led to a land use change (LUC) to olive grove (OG) and vineyards (V). A field study was conducted to determine the long-term effects (46 years) of LUC (AC by OG and V) and to determine soil organic carbon (SOC), total nitrogen (TN), C : N ratio and their stratification across the soil entire profile, in Montilla-Moriles denomination of origin (D.O.), in Calcic-Chromic Luvisols (LVcc/cr), an area under semiarid Mediterranean conditions. The experimental design consisted of studying the LUC on one farm between 1965 and 2011. Originally, only AC was farmed in 1965, but OG and V were farmed up to now (2011). This LUC principally affected the horizon thickness, texture, bulk density, pH, organic matter, organic carbon, total nitrogen and C : N ratio. The LUC had a negative impact in the soil, affecting the SOC and TN stocks. The conversion from AC to V and OG involved the loss of the SOC stock (52.7% and 64.9% to V and OG respectively) and the loss of the TN stock (42.6% and 38.1% to V and OG respectively). With respect to the stratification ratios (SRs), the effects were opposite; 46 years after LUC increased the SRs (in V and OG) of SOC, TN and C : N ratio.

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