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Natural and managed soil structure: On the fragile scaffolding for soil functioning

Or, Dani and Keller, Thomas and Schlesinger, William H (2021). Natural and managed soil structure: On the fragile scaffolding for soil functioning. Soil and Tillage Research. 208 , 104912
[Research article]

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Soil structure in natural systems is a product of complex interactions between biological activity, climate and soil minerals that promote aggregation and accumulation of biopores. In arable lands, the management of soil structure often requires the mechanical fragmentation of hardened soil to improve seedbed, control weeds and bury plant residue. Despite difficulties in defining and quantifying soil structure, its critical role is evidenced by loss of productivity when natural structure is perturbed (e.g. compaction) and the long history of tillage in agriculture. To overcome persistent ambiguities among scientific disciplines regarding definition and function of soil structure, we propose a framework for distinguishing managed and natural soil structure based on their different formation processes and functions. Natural soil structure preserves ecological order and legacy that promotes biopore reuse, stabilizes foodwebs and protects soil organic carbon (SOC). The contribution of net primary productivity of natural lands to soil structure forming processes makes it a useful (surrogate) metric of soil structure. The benefits of managed soil structure for crops are quantified indirectly via comparisons with no-till farming under similar conditions. The levels and trends of SOC are useful metrics for the status of natural and managed soil structure. The systematic consideration of soil structure state in natural and arable lands using suitable metrics is a prerequisite for rational decisions related to land management and ensuring sustainable functioning of a fragile and central resource such as soil.

Authors/Creators:Or, Dani and Keller, Thomas and Schlesinger, William H
Title:Natural and managed soil structure: On the fragile scaffolding for soil functioning
Series Name/Journal:Soil and Tillage Research
Year of publishing :2021
Article number:104912
Number of Pages:9
Publication Type:Research article
Article category:Scientific peer reviewed
Version:Published version
Copyright:Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0
Full Text Status:Public
Subjects:(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 4 Agricultural Sciences > 401 Agricultural, Forestry and Fisheries > Soil Science
Keywords:Soil structure, Soil organic carbon, Tillage, No-till, Soil aggregates, Land use
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Additional ID:
Type of IDID
Web of Science (WoS)000625888400010
ID Code:23326
Faculty:NJ - Fakulteten för naturresurser och jordbruksvetenskap
Department:(NL, NJ) > Dept. of Soil and Environment
(S) > Dept. of Soil and Environment
Deposited By: SLUpub Connector
Deposited On:22 Apr 2021 12:23
Metadata Last Modified:22 Apr 2021 12:31

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