Long-term organic farming on a citrus plantation results in soil organic carbon recovery

Agata Novara (Corresponding Author), Manuel Pulido, Jesus Rodrigo-Comino, Simone Di Prima, Pete Smith, Luciano Gristina, Antonio Giminez-Morera, Enric Terol, David Salesa, Saskia Keesstra

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68 Citations (Scopus)
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It has been shown that soil management under organic farming can enhance soil organic carbon, thereby mitigating atmospheric greenhouse gas increases, but until now quantitative evaluations based on long term experiments are scarce, especially under Mediterranean conditions. Changes in soil organic carbon (SOC) content were examined in response to organic management with cover crops in a Mediterranean citrus plantation using 21 years of survey data. Soil organic carbon increase was more apparent 5 years after a land management change suggesting that, for citrus plantations on Mediterranean conditions, studies should be longer than five years in duration. Soil organic carbon sequestration rate did not significantly change during the 21 years of observation, with values ranging from -1.10 Mg C ha−1 y−1 to 1.89 Mg C ha−1 y−1. After 21 years, 61 Mg CO2 ha-1 were sequestered in long-lived soil C pools. These findings demonstrate that organic management is an effective strategy to restore or increase SOC content in Mediterranean citrus systems.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)271-286
Number of pages16
JournalCuadernos de Investigación Geográfica
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

This research was funded by the European Union Seventh Framework Program (FP7/2007- 2013) under grant no. 603498 (RECARE Project) and the research projects GL2008-02879/BTE and LEDDRA 243857.


  • organic carbon
  • citrus
  • long-term experiment
  • carbon sequestration rate
  • Citrus
  • Long-term experiment
  • Organic carbon
  • Carbon sequestration rate


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