Livestock grazing and soil carbon stocks
In a paper (Marriott C A, Fisher J M, Hood K and Pakeman R J (2010) 'Impacts of extensive grazing and abandonment on grassland soils and productivity' Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment Volume 139, Issue 4, 476–482) the abstract states:
In a paper (Marriott C A, Fisher J M, Hood K and Pakeman R J (2010) 'Impacts of extensive grazing and abandonment on grassland soils and productivity' Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment Volume 139, Issue 4, 476–482) the abstract states: "Two long-term (16 year) experiments on intensively managed pastures compared extensive grazing, abandonment and continued intensive grazing and were assessed for impacts on soil parameters, plant nutrient content and ecological indicator values. There was a reduction in soil carbon and nitrogen in the abandoned treatment compared to the intensively managed treatment at the wetter site. "At the drier site, extensive grazing resulted in a build up of soil carbon. There was a build up of dead organic matter and a reduction in the nutritive value of the vegetation as grazing was reduced. Indicator values confirmed the reduced soil nutrients and a fall in site pH. There was also a rise in the dominance of plants preferring moist conditions, especially at the wetter site. "As biodiversity gains are small, the management of these systems could be seen as a trade-off between managing for production and for soil organic carbon. At the drier site this trade-off is apparent, whereas at the wetter site managing for production also maximises soil carbon content." A few extra paragraphs copied add clarification: "The overall aim of this analysis was to understand the long term (16 year) impacts of the removal of fertiliser inputs and reduced grazing/abandonment on site fertility and nutrient stocks through
- monitoring of major soil chemical indices,
- monitoring of biomass and biomass nutrient content and
- monitoring of changes in plant indicator values related to soil properties.
- productive management, i.e. fertilised annually in March and August with 50 kgNha−1 as ammonium nitrate and in May with a compound fertiliser supplying 40, 8.7, 16.6 kg N, P and k ha−1, and maintained at a sward surface height of 4 cm from March until mid-November (4F);
- an unfertilised, grazed treatment maintained at 4 cm over the same period (4U);
- an unfertilised, grazed treatment maintained at 8 cm over the same period (8U);
- no fertiliser applications and no grazing (UN).
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