Soil organic carbon and land use: Processes and potential in Ontario’s long-term agro-ecosystem research sites
Soil organic carbon (SOC) is crucial for maintaining a productive agro-ecosystem. Long-term research must be synthesized to understand the effects of land management on SOC storage and to develop best practices to prevent soil degradation.Therefore, this review compiled an inventory of long-term Ontario studies and assessed SOC storage under common Ontario land management regimes via a meta-analysis and literature review. In general, greater SOC storage occurred in no-till (NT) vs. tillage systems, in crop rotation vs. continuous corn, and in N fertilizer vs. no N fertilizer systems; however,soil texture and perhaps drainage class may determine the effects of tillage. The effect on SOC storage was variable when deeper soil depth ranges (0 45 cm) were considered for NT and rotational cropping, which suggests an unpredictable effect of land management on SOC at depths below the plough layer. Therefore, researchers are encouraged to use the presented inventory of nine long-term research sites and 18 active experiments in Ontario to pursue coordinated studies of long-term land management on SOC at depths extending below the plough layer.