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Fourteen years of evidence for positive effects of conservation agriculture and organic farming on soil life

Henneron, Ludovic; Bernard, Laetitia; Hedde, Mickael; Pelosi, Céline; Villenave, Cécile; Chenu, Claire; Bertrand, Michel; Girardin, Cyril and Blanchart, Eric (2015) Fourteen years of evidence for positive effects of conservation agriculture and organic farming on soil life. Agronomy for Sustainable Development, pp. 169-181.

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Document available online at: https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01173289


Conventional agriculture strongly alters soil quality due to industrial practices that often have negative effects on soil life. Alternative systems such as conservation agriculture and organic farming could restore better conditions for soil organisms. Improving soil life should in turn improve soil quality and farming sustainability. Here, we have compared for the first time the long-term effects of conservation agriculture, organic farming, and conventional agriculture on major soil organisms such as microbes, nematofauna, and macrofauna. We have also analyzed functional groups. Soils were sampled at the 14-year-old experimental site of La Cage, near Versailles, France. The microbial community was analyzed using molecular biology techniques. Nematofauna and macrofauna were analyzed and classified into functional groups. Our results show that both conservation and organic systems increased the abundance and biomass of all soil organisms, except predaceous nematodes. For example, macrofauna increased from 100 to 2,500 %, nematodes from 100 to 700 %, and microorganisms from 30 to 70 %. Conservation agriculture showed a higher overall improvement than organic farming. Conservation agriculture increased the number of many organisms such as bacteria, fungi, anecic earthworms, and phytophagous and rhizophagous arthropods. Organic farming improved mainly the bacterial pathway of the soil food web and endogeic and anecic earthworms. Overall, our study shows that long-term, no-tillage, and cover crops are better for soil biota than periodic legume green manures, pesticides, and mineral fertilizers.

EPrint Type:Journal paper
Keywords:Soil biodiversity (en), Functional groups (en), Soil food web (en), Soil functionning (en), Soil quality (en), Land management (en), Agricultural sustainability (en), Agroecosystems (en), Agroecology (en)
Subjects:"Organics" in general
Research affiliation: France > INRAe - Institut national de recherche pour l’agriculture, l’alimentation et l’environnement
ISSN:ISSN: 1774-0746
Related Links:https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01173289/document
Project ID:HAL-INRAe
Deposited By: PENVERN, Servane
ID Code:41052
Deposited On:12 Aug 2021 10:37
Last Modified:12 Aug 2021 10:37
Document Language:English

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