Gradual and anthropogenic soil change for fertility and carbon on marginal sandy soils

Tye, A.M.; Robinson, D.A.; Lark, R.M.. 2013 Gradual and anthropogenic soil change for fertility and carbon on marginal sandy soils. Geoderma, 207-208. 35-48.

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As soils come under increasing pressure to maintain a range of ecosystem services, there is interest in how soils change over time in response to factors such as change in land-use. Many studies examining long- and short-term soil change have focused on soils with relatively high mineral and fertility status. Therefore, the aims of this study are to explore regional change on a marginal sandy soil formed over the Sherwood Sandstone outcrop in Nottinghamshire, U.K. (750 km2) and to assess changes in soil fertility as a function of the natural weathering process and land use change. The study uses data from three sources to examine differences between soil fertility properties under two major land-uses through the depth of the soil/mobile regolith (~ 1.6 m) and into the saprolite. It is proposed that the differences reflect in part the result of historical change in land-use. From old maps we identify the land-use changes back to 1781. This allowed us to compare soils that have been under woodland cover at least since 1781 with those that were converted to arable use in major deforestation between 1781 and 1881. Soils now under woodland have low concentrations of base cations, an acid pH and a mean organic carbon concentration (0–15 cm) of 2.7%. In contrast soils now under arable use have large concentrations of base cations, pH close to neutral and mean organic carbon concentration (0–15 cm) of 1.7%. There is evidence in the arable soils of leaching to depth of materials from applied fertilisers and lime. These results show the rapid change in properties of soil formed in bedrock, with small concentrations of nutrients and weatherable minerals, which can result from land-use change.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Programmes: CEH Topics & Objectives 2009 - 2012 > Biogeochemistry
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Emmett
ISSN: 0016-7061
Additional Keywords: Sherwood sandstone, land-use change, soil fertility, carbon loss
NORA Subject Terms: Agriculture and Soil Science
Date made live: 26 Jul 2013 15:28 +0 (UTC)

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