Title: Patterns of soil organic carbon and nitrogen in relation to soil movement under different land uses in mountain fields (South Central Pyrenees)
Authors: Navas, A ×
Gaspar, L
Quijano, L
Lopez-Vicente, Manuel
Machín, J #
Issue Date: Jul-2012
Publisher: Elsevier
Series Title: Catena vol:94 pages:43-52
Abstract: Cultivation on mountain landscapes has been identified as a main factor triggering soil erosion. Patterns of
erosion, transport and deposition of soil particles in agricultural landscapes appears to be closely linked to that
of soil nutrients. In this work the redistribution of soil organic carbon and nitrogen and of soil particles is
analysed in different geomorphic parts of mountain fields. A southern orientated hillslope was selected as
representative of main land uses in mountain farmland of the Central Spanish Pyrenees. In the region, as much
as 74% of its surface was abandoned in the last decades and as a result patterns of soil and nutrient losses in the
fields were affected by both land abandonment and tillage. A set of cultivated and abandoned fields with
different ages of land abandonment, slope gradients and lengths were selected to conduct this study. In each
of the fields, total soil depth sampling was done in different parts of the slope to assess the pattern distribution
of soil organic carbon (SOC) and nitrogen (SON). Other general soil properties analysed: pH, EC, carbonate
content, grain size distribution and additional information derived from fallout caesium 137 provided
supplementary information for better understanding the patterns of soil and nutrient redistribution. In the
cultivated fields SOC and SON contents were higher and comparable to contents in the older abandoned fields,
because the recovery of the natural vegetation after a long-term period of abandonment equalized the
nutrient conditions in the cultivated fields that had regular additions of manure. In general SOC and SON
percentages increased from the upper slope to the bottom slope of the fields with percentage increases
ranging from 4 to 54% and from 1.5% to as much as 77%, respectively. Similarly, significant increases of SOC and
SON inventories (45 and 49%, respectively) were registered at the bottom slopes of longer fields by
comparison with lower increases (33 and 30%, respectively) in shorter and steeper fields. Soil deposition at
the bottom slope as indicated by the 137Cs residuals was paralleled with increases in SOC and SON contents.
Under the land use practices in the studied fields the bottom slope positions accumulate soil particles and act
as sinks of soil carbon and nitrogen in these mountain agricultural landscapes.
ISSN: 0341-8162
Publication status: published
KU Leuven publication type: IT
Appears in Collections:Division of Geography & Tourism
× corresponding author
# (joint) last author

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