Conservation tillage systems: a review of its consequences for greenhouse gas emissions

M. Abdalla* (Corresponding Author), B. Osborne, G. Lanigan, D. Forristal, M. Williams, P. Smith, M. B. Jones

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature reviewpeer-review

124 Citations (Scopus)


Conservation tillage (CT) is an umbrella term encompassing many types of tillage and residue management systems that aim to achieve sustainable and profitable agriculture. Through a global review of CT research, the objective of this paper was to investigate the impacts of CT on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Based on the analysis presented, CT should be developed within the context of specific climates and soils. A number of potential disadvantages in adopting CT practices were identified, relating mainly to enhanced nitrous oxide emissions, together with a number of advantages that would justify its wider adoption. Almost all studies examined showed that the adoption of CT practices reduced carbon dioxide emissions, while also contributing to increases in soil organic carbon and improvements in soil structure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)199-209
Number of pages11
JournalSoil Use & Management
Issue number2
Early online date4 Feb 2013
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2013


  • greenhouse gas emissions
  • conservation tillage
  • conventional tillage
  • N leaching
  • dissolved organic C and N
  • nitrous-oxide emissions
  • soil organic-carbon
  • long-term tillage
  • fluxes following tillage
  • crop residue management
  • corn-soybean rotations
  • no-tillage
  • climate-change
  • N2O emissions


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