Lillian Øygarden

Research Scientist

(+47) 916 84 113
lillian.oygarden@nibio.no

Place
Ås F20

Visiting address
Fredrik A. Dahls vei 20, 1430 Ås

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Abstract

Soils are vital for supporting food security and other ecosystem services. Climate change can affect soil functions both directly and indirectly. Direct effects include temperature, precipitation, and moisture regime changes. Indirect effects include those that are induced by adaptations such as irrigation, crop rotation changes, and tillage practices. Although extensive knowledge is available on the direct effects, an understanding of the indirect effects of agricultural adaptation options is less complete. A review of 20 agricultural adaptation case‐studies across Europe was conducted to assess implications to soil threats and soil functions and the link to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The major findings are as follows: (a) adaptation options reflect local conditions; (b) reduced soil erosion threats and increased soil organic carbon are expected, although compaction may increase in some areas; (c) most adaptation options are anticipated to improve the soil functions of food and biomass production, soil organic carbon storage, and storing, filtering, transforming, and recycling capacities, whereas possible implications for soil biodiversity are largely unknown; and (d) the linkage between soil functions and the SDGs implies improvements to SDG 2 (achieving food security and promoting sustainable agriculture) and SDG 13 (taking action on climate change), whereas the relationship to SDG 15 (using terrestrial ecosystems sustainably) is largely unknown. The conclusion is drawn that agricultural adaptation options, even when focused on increasing yields, have the potential to outweigh the negative direct effects of climate change on soil degradation in many European regions.

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Abstract

In Scandinavia, high losses of soil and particulate-bound phosphorus (PP) have been shown to occur from tine-cultivated and mouldboard-ploughed soils in clay soil areas, especially in relatively warm, wet winters. Omitting primary tillage (not ploughing)in autumn and continuous crop cover are generally used to control soil erosion. In Norway, ploughing and shallow cultivation of sloping fields in spring instead of ploughing in autumn has been shown to reduce particle transport by up to 89% on soils with high erodibility. Particle erosion from clay soils can be reduced by 79% by direct drilling in spring compared with autumn ploughing. Hence, field experiments in Scandinavia on ploughless tillage of clay loams and clay soils compared with conventional ploughing in autumn usually show reductions in total P losses of 10-80%, via both surface runoff and subsurface runoff (lateral movements to drains). However, the effects of not ploughing during autumn on losses of dissolved reactive P (DRP) are frequently negative, since the proportion of DRP losses without ploughing compared conventional ploughing has increased up to fourfold in field experiment. In a comprehensive Norwegian field experiment at a site with high erosion risk the proportion of DRP compared to total P has increased twice in water after direct drilling compared to ploughing before winter wheat. Therefore erosion control measures should be further evaluated for fields with a low erosion risk since reduction in PP losses may be low and DRP losses still high. Ploughless tillage systems have potential side-effects, including an increased need for pesticides to control weeds (e.g. Elytrigia repens (L.) Desv. ex Nevski) and plant diseases (e.g. Fusarium spp.) harboured by crop residues on the soil surface. Overall, soil tillage systems should be appraised for their positive and negative environmental effects before they are widely used for all conditions of soil, management practices, climate and landscape.