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Trait-based approach for agroecology: Contribution of service crop root traits to explain soil aggregate stability in vineyards

Garcia L., Damour G., Gary C., Follain S., Le Bissonnais Y., Metay A.. 2019. Plant and Soil, 435 (1-2) : p. 1-14.

Aims: The aim of this study was to explore the impact of soil management strategies and the contribution of root traits of plant communities and soil organic carbon (SOC) in explaining soil aggregate stability in vineyards. Methods: We measured topsoil aggregate stability, soil properties and root traits of 38 plant communities in an experimental vineyard, previously subjected to different soil management strategies. Then we investigated statistical relations between aggregate stability, root traits and SOC and estimated root trait and SOC contributions to gain insight into aggregate stability. Results: Soil management strategies strongly affected soil aggregate stability, with a negative effect of tillage, even after several years of service crop cover. Among the investigated parameters, soil organic carbon was found to contribute the most to aggregate stability. Root mean diameter and root mass density showed positive correlations with aggregate stability, while specific root length showed a negative correlation with aggregate stability. Conclusions: Soil aggregate stability is the result of complex interactions between soil management strategies, soil properties and plant root traits. Service crops improve aggregate stability, and a trait-based approach could help to identify service crop ideotypes and expand the pool of species of interest for providing services in agroecosystems in relation with the soil physical quality.

Thématique : Systèmes et modes de culture; Conservation de la nature et ressources foncières; Ecologie végétale

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