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Long-term Residue Management Effects on Soil Respiration in a Wheat-Soybean Double-Crop System

Smith, Faye1; Brye, Kristofor R.1; Gbur, Edward E.2; Chen, Pengyin1; Korth, Ken3

doi: 10.1097/SS.0000000000000053
Technical Article

One of the most significant contributors to the greenhouse effect is carbon dioxide (CO2) gas in the atmosphere. Soil respiration, the combined production of CO2 from soil, as a result of root and microorganism respiration, is the largest flux of CO2 from the terrestrial ecosystem to the atmosphere. Considering land use can greatly impact soil C storage and cycling, agricultural management practices can also greatly affect soil respiration and CO2 emissions. Therefore, the effects of long-term residue management (i.e., residue burning and nonburning, and conventional [CT] and no-tillage [NT]) and residue level (i.e., high and low) on soil respiration during the soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.] growing season were examined over 2 consecutive years (i.e., 2011 and 2012) in a wheat (Triticum aestivum L.)–soybean, double-crop system in a silt-loam soil (Aquic Fraglossudalf) in the Mississippi River Delta region of eastern Arkansas after more than 9 years of consistent management. Soil respiration rates from individual plots ranged from 0.53 to 40.7 and from 0.17 to 13.1 μmol CO2·m−2·s−1 throughout the 2011 and 2012 soybean growing seasons, respectively, and differed (P < 0.05) among treatment combinations on two and five of nine and 11 measurement dates in 2011 and 2012, respectively. Regardless of residue level, soil respiration was generally greater (P < 0.05) from CT than NT. Estimated season-long CO2 emissions were 10.2% less (18.5 Mg CO2·ha−1) from residue burning than from nonburning (20.6 Mg CO2·ha−1; P = 0.032). Averaged over years and all other field treatments, estimated season-long CO2 emissions were 15.5% greater from CT (21.0 Mg CO2·ha−1) than from NT (18.1 Mg CO2·ha−1; P = 0.020). Understanding long-term management effects on soil C losses, such as soil respiration, from common and widespread agricultural systems, such as the wheat-soybean, double-crop system, in eastern Arkansas can help improve policies for soil and environmental sustainability throughout the lower Mississippi River Delta region.

1Department of Crop, Soil, and Environmental Sciences, 2Agricultural Statistics Laboratory, and 3Department of Plant Pathology, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR.

Address for correspondence: Kristofor R. Brye, PhD, Department of Crop, Soil, and Environmental Sciences, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR 72701; E-mail:

Financial Disclosures/Conflicts of Interest: This research was partially funded by the Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board. The authors report no conflicts of interest.

Received February 4, 2014.

Accepted for publication April 28, 2014.

© 2014Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins