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The effects of organic farming on the soil physical environment

Papadopoulos, A; Bird, N R A; Whitmore, A P and Mooney, S J (2006) The effects of organic farming on the soil physical environment. In: Atkinson, C; Ball, B; Davies, D H K; Rees, R; Russell, G; Stockdale, E A; Watson, C A; Walker, R and Younie, D (Eds.) Aspects of Applied Biology 79, What will organic farming deliver? COR 2006, Association of Applied Biologists, pp. 263-267.

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Summary

The aim of this research was to investigate the effects of organic farming practices on the development of soil physical properties, and in particular, soil structure in comparison with conventional agricultural management. The soil structure of organically and conventionally managed soils at one site was compared in a quantitative manner at different scales of observations using image analysis. Key soil physical and chemical properties were measured as well as the pore fractal geometry to characterise pore roughness. Organically managed soils had higher organic matter content and provided a more stable soil structure than conventionally managed soils. The higher porosity (%) at the macroscale in soil under conventional management was due to fewer larger pores while mesoand microscale porosity was found to be greater under organic management. Organically managed soils typically provided spatially well distributed pores of all sizes and of greater roughness compared to those under conventional management. These variations in the soil physical environment are likely to impact significantly on the performance of these soils for a number of key processes such as crop establishment and water availability


EPrint Type:Conference paper, poster, etc.
Type of presentation:Poster
Keywords:Soil structure, Image analysis, Organic management, Multiscale approach
Subjects: Soil > Soil quality
Research affiliation: UK > Rothamsted Research (RES)
UK > Other organizations
UK > Colloquium of Organic Researchers (COR) > COR 2006
Deposited By: MILLMAN, Mrs Carol A
ID Code:10250
Deposited On:20 Dec 2006
Last Modified:12 Apr 2010 07:34
Document Language:English
Status:Published
Refereed:Not peer-reviewed

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