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Soil Carbon and Nitrogen Changes following Afforestation of Marginal Cropland across a Precipitation Gradient in Loess Plateau of China  [PDF]
Ruiying Chang, Tiantian Jin, Yihe Lü, Guohua Liu, Bojie Fu
PLOS ONE , 2014, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0085426
Abstract: Cropland afforestation has been widely found to increase soil organic carbon (SOC) and soil total nitrogen (STN); however, the magnitudes of SOC and STN accumulation and regulating factors are less studied in dry, marginal lands, and therein the interaction between soil carbon and nitrogen is not well understood. We examined the changes in SOC and STN in younger (5–9-year-old) and older (25–30-year-old) black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia L., an N-fixing species) plantations that were established on former cropland along a precipitation gradient (380 to 650 mm) in the semi-arid Loess Plateau of China. The SOC and STN stocks of cropland and plantations increased linearly with precipitation increase, respectively, accompanying an increase in the plantation net primary productivity and the soil clay content along the increasing precipitation gradient. The SOC stock of cropland decreased in younger plantations and increased in older plantations after afforestation, and the amount of the initial loss of SOC during the younger plantations’ establishment increased with precipitation increasing. By contrast, the STN stock of cropland showed no decrease in the initial afforestation while tending to increase with plantation age, and the changes in STN were not related to precipitation. The changes in STN and SOC showed correlated and were precipitation-dependent following afforestation, displaying a higher relative gain of SOC to STN as precipitation decreased. Our results suggest that the afforestation of marginal cropland in Loess Plateau can have a significant effect on the accumulation of SOC and STN, and that precipitation has a significant effect on SOC accumulation but little effect on STN retention. The limitation effect of soil nitrogen on soil carbon accumulation is more limited in the drier area rather than in the wetter sites.
Changes in the Abundance of Grassland Species in Monocultures versus Mixtures and Their Relation to Biodiversity Effects  [PDF]
Elisabeth Marquard, Bernhard Schmid, Christiane Roscher, Enrica De Luca, Karin Nadrowski, Wolfgang W. Weisser, Alexandra Weigelt
PLOS ONE , 2013, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0075599
Abstract: Numerous studies have reported positive effects of species richness on plant community productivity. Such biodiversity effects are usually quantified by comparing the performance of plant mixtures with reference monocultures. However, several mechanisms, such as the lack of resource complementarity and facilitation or the accumulation of detrimental agents, suggest that monocultures are more likely than mixtures to deteriorate over time. Increasing biodiversity effects over time could therefore result from declining monocultures instead of reflecting increases in the functioning of mixtures. Commonly, the latter is assumed when positive trends in biodiversity effects occur. Here, we analysed the performance of 60 grassland species growing in monocultures and mixtures over 9 years in a biodiversity experiment to clarify whether their temporal biomass dynamics differed and whether a potential decline of monocultures contributed significantly to the positive net biodiversity effect observed. Surprisingly, individual species’ populations produced, on average, significantly more biomass per unit area when growing in monoculture than when growing in mixture. Over time, productivity of species decreased at a rate that was, on average, slightly more negative in monocultures than in mixtures. The mean net biodiversity effect across all mixtures was continuously positive and ranged between 64–217 g per m2. Short-term increases in the mean net biodiversity effect were only partly due to deteriorating monocultures and were strongly affected by particular species gaining dominance in mixtures in the respective years. We conclude that our species performed, on average, comparably in monocultures and mixtures; monoculture populations being slightly more productive than mixture populations but this trend decreased over time. This suggested that negative feedbacks had not yet affected monocultures strongly but could potentially become more evident in the future. Positive biodiversity effects on aboveground productivity were heavily driven by a small, but changing, set of species that behaved differently from the average species.
The impact of cropland conversion on environmental effect in the Loess Plateau: a pilot study based on the national experimental bases

WANG Fei,LI Rui,JIAO Feng,YANG Qingke,TIAN Junliang,

地理学报 , 2005,
Abstract: Conversion of cropland to forestry and grassland is an important method to reduce soil erosion and improve the biophysical environment in the Loess Plateau. The feasibility, methods, and environmental effects of cropland conversion were studied based on 11 typical watersheds of national experimental bases instead of different geographic areas of the Loess Plateau. Between 1986 and 2000, cropland, sloping cropland and non-agricultural land decreased by 8%, 92.5% and 8% respectively, while forestry increased by 15.7%. The land use change not only decreased annual soil erosion by 74%, but also increased vegetation coverage by 100% and improved the soil condition and biodiversity. This can be achieved by building basic farmland, increasing capital and scientific input, and planting trees and grasses according to the natural biophysical restrictions.
Differences in Light Interception in Grass Monocultures Predict Short-Term Competitive Outcomes under Productive Conditions  [PDF]
Eva Vojtech, Lindsay A. Turnbull, Andy Hector
PLOS ONE , 2007, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0000499
Abstract: Due to its inherent asymmetry, competition for light is thought to cause loss of diversity from eutrophied systems. However, most of the work on this topic in grasslands has been phenomenological and has not measured light directly. We present the results of one of the few mechanistic experiments investigating the outcome of short-term competition using measurements of light interception from monocultures of five perennial grass species grown under fertilized and irrigated conditions. We found that the level of incident light intercepted by each species in monoculture, a direct measure of resource-reduction ability, was an excellent predictor of the relative competitive effect in pairwise mixtures. Competition for light was asymmetric in relation to differences in light intercepting ability. Our results are consistent with the idea that when light is a limiting resource, competition between species for this resource can be asymmetric, contributing to high dominance and low diversity.
Soil Carbon and Nitrogen Sequestration Following Cropland to Forage Grassland Conversion in the Marginal Land in the Middle of Heihe River Basin,Northwest China

SU Yong-zhong,

环境科学 , 2006,
Abstract: Changes in soil organic carbon (SOC) and total nitrogen (TN) stocks were studied following croplands were converted to forage grasslands (alfalfa) for five years on the marginal land at the edge of oasis in the middle reaches of Heihe river basin. Soil from 12 paired forage land/adjacent cropland on the two soil types (Typic Torripsamments and Typic Calciorthids) was sampled at the three depths of 0-5, 5-10 and 10-20 cm and analyzed for SOC and TN, particulate organic carbon (POC) and nitrogen (PON). The studied soils had very low SOC and N concentrations. SOC stock at the 0-20 cm depth increased by 22.1%-27.8% after conversion of annually crop to perennial alfalfa for four years, and carbon sequestration rate was estimated to be on average 0.47 Mg/(hm2 x a). The greatest change in SOC stock occurred at the 0-5 cm surface layer with an increase of 32%-66%. No significant TN stock was found at the 0-20 cm depth, however, it increased at the 0-5 cm surface layer by 12.8% and 48.1% for Typic Torripsamments and Typic Calciorthids, respectively. Changes in POC and PON stocks were more significant than those in SOC and total N following conversion of crop to forage, and the percentage of distributions of POC and PON increased. POC and PON stocks at the 0-20 cm depth increased by 22.8%-42.7% and 18.6%-57.6% with the greatest increases at the 0-5 cm layer. The increase in soil C pool was mainly attributed to the increase of POC formation after the marginal lands converted to perennial forage cover. Typic Calciorthids with lower SOC concentration had relatively lower C sequestration rate but more significant effects of C and N sequestration compared with Typic Torripsamments.
Mapping Cropland in Ethiopia Using Crowdsourcing  [PDF]
Linda See, Ian McCallum, Steffen Fritz, Christoph Perger, Florian Kraxner, Michael Obersteiner, Ujjal Deka Baruah, Nitashree Mili, Nripen Ram Kalita
International Journal of Geosciences (IJG) , 2013, DOI: 10.4236/ijg.2013.46A1002

The spatial distribution of cropland is an important input to many applications including food security monitoring and economic land use modeling. Global land cover maps derived from remote sensing are one source of cropland but they are currently not accurate enough in the cropland domain to meet the needs of the user community. Moreover, when compared with one another, these land cover products show large areas of spatial disagreement, which makes the choice very difficult regarding which land cover product to use. This paper takes an entirely different approach to mapping cropland, using crowdsourcing of Google Earth imagery via tools in Geo-Wiki. Using sample data generated by a crowdsourcing campaign for the collection of the degree of cultivation and settlement in Ethiopia, a cropland map was created using simple inverse distance weighted interpolation. The map was validated using data from the GOFC-GOLD validation portal and an independent crowdsourced dataset from Geo-Wiki. The results show that the crowdsourced cropland map for Ethiopia has a higher overall accuracy than the individual global land cover products for this country. Such an approach has great potential for mapping cropland in other countries where such data do not currently exist. Not only is the approach inexpensive but the data can be collected over a very short period of time using an existing network of volunteers.

Sustainable Management in Crop Monocultures: The Impact of Retaining Forest on Oil Palm Yield  [PDF]
Felicity A. Edwards, David P. Edwards, Sean Sloan, Keith C. Hamer
PLOS ONE , 2014, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0091695
Abstract: Tropical agriculture is expanding rapidly at the expense of forest, driving a global extinction crisis. How to create agricultural landscapes that minimise the clearance of forest and maximise sustainability is thus a key issue. One possibility is protecting natural forest within or adjacent to crop monocultures to harness important ecosystem services provided by biodiversity spill-over that may facilitate production. Yet this contrasts with the conflicting potential that the retention of forest exports dis-services, such as agricultural pests. We focus on oil palm and obtained yields from 499 plantation parcels spanning a total of ≈23,000 ha of oil palm plantation in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo. We investigate the relationship between the extent and proximity of both contiguous and fragmented dipterocarp forest cover and oil palm yield, controlling for variation in oil palm age and for environmental heterogeneity by incorporating proximity to non-native forestry plantations, other oil palm plantations, and large rivers, elevation and soil type in our models. The extent of forest cover and proximity to dipterocarp forest were not significant predictors of oil palm yield. Similarly, proximity to large rivers and other oil palm plantations, as well as soil type had no significant effect. Instead, lower elevation and closer proximity to forestry plantations had significant positive impacts on oil palm yield. These findings suggest that if dipterocarp forests are exporting ecosystem service benefits or ecosystem dis-services, that the net effect on yield is neutral. There is thus no evidence to support arguments that forest should be retained within or adjacent to oil palm monocultures for the provision of ecosystem services that benefit yield. We urge for more nuanced assessments of the impacts of forest and biodiversity on yields in crop monocultures to better understand their role in sustainable agriculture.
Global Patterns of Cropland Use Intensity  [PDF]
Stefan Siebert,Felix T. Portmann,Petra D?ll
Remote Sensing , 2010, DOI: 10.3390/rs2071625
Abstract: This study presents a global scale analysis of cropping intensity, crop duration and fallow land extent computed by using the global dataset on monthly irrigated and rainfed crop areas MIRCA2000. MIRCA2000 was mainly derived from census data and crop calendars from literature. Global cropland extent was 16 million km2 around the year 2000 of which 4.4 million km2 (28%) was fallow, resulting in an average cropping intensity of 0.82 for total cropland extent and of 1.13 when excluding fallow land. The lowest cropping intensities related to total cropland extent were found for Southern Africa (0.45), Central America (0.49) and Middle Africa (0.54), while highest cropping intensities were computed for Eastern Asia (1.04) and Southern Asia (1.0). In remote or arid regions where shifting cultivation is practiced, fallow periods last 3–10 years or even longer. In contrast, crops are harvested two or more times per year in highly populated, often irrigated tropical or subtropical lowlands where multi-cropping systems are common. This indicates that intensification of agricultural land use is a strategy that may be able to significantly improve global food security. There exist large uncertainties regarding extent of cropland, harvested crop area and therefore cropping intensity at larger scales. Satellite imagery and remote sensing techniques provide opportunities for decreasing these uncertainties and to improve the MIRCA2000 inventory.
Brazil World Cup Challenges
Salesian Journal on Information Systems , 2012,
Abstract: Overcoming the productivity challenge is the main benefit of the 2014 World Cup for Brazilian people. The sustainable development of our cultural tourism industry will catapult the new middle class growing up rate.
The impact of dynamic change of cropland on grain production in Jilin

HE Yanfen,ZHANG Bai,MA Chaoqun,

地理学报 , 2004,
Abstract: The quantity and quality changes of cropland in Jilin province are analyzed by combining the statistics from 1949 to 1999 and land-use maps interpreted from TM images in 1986 and in 2000. In general, the decreasing trend of the cropland in Jilin province was derived from the statistic data in 1949-1999. While since 1983, the cropland area has increased slightly, because of the conversion from other land-use types to cropland. It is showed that the net increase of cropland was about 43.40×104 ha. While the quality change of the cropland can be seen from that mainly caused by the conversion from forestland, grassland to cropland and the change mainly took place in the west, where it is ecologically fragile. According to the spatial distribution model, the centroids' move of the cropland and the grain production are calculated, whose directions are not consistent. The impact of the dynamic change of the cropland on food security is further analyzed.
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