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Title: Carbon status and structural stability of soils from differing land use systems in the Kingdom of Tonga
Contributor(s): Manu, V (author); Whitbread, A (author); Blair, N (author); Blair, Graeme  (author)
Publication Date: 2014
DOI: 10.1111/sum.12135
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Abstract: Maintenance of soil carbon stocks is vital for the environment at large and for maintenance of soil chemical, physical and biological fertility. Tonga represents a country in agricultural transition from subsistence to commercial production and whilst this is good for the national economy the impact on soil resources is less clear. The major cropped soils, fallow vegetation types and forest systems of Tonga were identified in each island group and samples of representative soils (0.15 m depth) from each land use unit were taken. Total carbon (CT) and δ¹³C were measured and labile carbon (CL) determined by oxidation with 333 mm KMnO₄. These data were used to determine the carbon management index (CMI) and the proportion of carbon from C4 species in the CT pool. Relative to primary forest, the soil CT and CL generally declined with changes in vegetation and more intense mechanical tillage. The contribution of C4 plants to soil C increased with intensity of mechanical tillage and the prevalence of C4 guinea grass ('Panicum maximum' Jacquin) fallow. The changes in soil C were reflected in the CMI, and CL was a more sensitive indicator of change than CT. These data indicates that all land use systems have experienced a large net loss of soil C relative to the forest systems. Soil mean weight diameter (MWD) decreased significantly with increased intensity of mechanical tillage and to a lesser extent with the intensity and length of cropping. The relationship between soil MWD and soil C was similar with soil CT and CL. Grass fallow was as effective as permanent vegetation systems in improving soil MWD and lowering the micro-aggregate (<125 μm) fraction.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Soil Use and Management, 30(4), p. 517-523
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Place of Publication: United Kingdom
ISSN: 0266-0032
Field of Research (FOR): 070101 Agricultural Land Management
070306 Crop and Pasture Nutrition
Socio-Economic Outcome Codes: 960604 Environmental Management Systems
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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