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Water interception and release of soluble carbon by mulches of plant residues under contrasting rain intensities

Abstract : The presence of crop residues on the soil surface of no-till cropping systems has important consequences on water flows between the atmosphere, litter layer (mulch) and soil. The consequences of rainfall on the transport of soluble C from litter layers are poorly known, despite their importance for soil carbon (C) and nutrient cycling. We quantified relationships among the rain amount and intensity, the water retention by mulches and the soluble C loss from mulches under rainfall. Mulches of residues from mature crops (maize, soybean and rice) and a cover crop (pea) were placed under continuous simulated rains with intensities of 4, 11 and 24 mm h−1 for 23 h, and we measured the water interception dynamics of the mulches and the water and soluble C flows under the mulches. The maximal water contents of the pea, maize and rice mulches did not differ significantly from each other (5.9–6.6 g H2O g−1 dry matter), while the soybean mulch retained much less water than the other mulches at 3.5 g H2O g−1 dry matter (DM). The soluble C loss was 9.2–23.7 % (4 mm h−1) and 19.3–55.2 % (24 mm h−1) depending on the residue type after 7 h of rain. With similar amounts of received rain (500 mL), the soluble C loss was identical for intensities at 4 and 11 mm h−1, and significantly lower at 24 mm h−1, suggesting inefficient rain transport at the high rain intensity. Finally, this study highlights the importance of better characterizing the physical and water properties of mulches and residue particles because of their significant effects on water and soluble C transport.
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https://hal.inrae.fr/hal-03261869
Contributor : Sylvie Recous <>
Submitted on : Wednesday, June 16, 2021 - 10:38:09 AM
Last modification on : Thursday, August 26, 2021 - 11:18:26 AM

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Pascal Thiébeau, Cyril Girardin, Sylvie Recous. Water interception and release of soluble carbon by mulches of plant residues under contrasting rain intensities. Soil and Tillage Research, Elsevier, 2021, 208, pp.1-9. ⟨10.1016/j.still.2020.104882⟩. ⟨hal-03261869⟩

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