Reversion of Perennial Biomass Crops to Conserve C and N: A Meta-Analysis

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in rivistaArticolo in rivista


Perennial crops have been proposed as a solution to couple the production of sustainable biomass for multiple uses with several environmental benefits such as soil C storage. Concerns exist that the C sequestered in soil could be lost in a few years after the perennial crops are reverted to arable land. In this study, the current knowledge on the effects of perennial crop reversion on soil C and N was summarized by performing a meta-analysis. One year after the reversion a significant increase of soil C and N stocks (+15% and +12% respectively) were found in the 0–30 cm layer, while in the time interval between the second to fifth year after the reversion, there were no significant increases or decreases of soil C and N. The incorporation of the belowground biomass (BGB) into the soil at reversion plays a key role in the fate of soil C and N stocks after the reversion. In fact, when reverting a multiannual biomass crop there are significant losses of soil C and N. In contrast, when reverting a perennial biomass crop (PBCs) such as rhizomatous herbaceous or SRC woody crops there are no losses of soil C and N. The BGB of perennial grass is mainly composed of root systems and not of a huge amount of belowground organs as in the case of PBCs. The shredding of the BGB and its transformation as particulate organic matter (POM) represent the major pulse C input at the reversion that can undergo further stabilization into a mineral-associated organic matter (MAOM) fraction. Introducing PBCs into crop rotation resulted in an effective carbon farming solution with a potential positive legacy for food crops in terms of achievement of both climate and soil fertility goals.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)232-N/A
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2022


  • Miscanthus
  • Perennial biomass crops
  • Perennial crops
  • Plant reversion
  • Poplar
  • Soil carbon
  • Soil nitrogen
  • Willow


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