Submitted to: International Soil Tillage Research Organization Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: October 12, 2005
Publication Date: August 28, 2006
Citation: Franzluebbers, A.J. 2006. Stratification of soil organic matter and potential impact on water runoff quality. In: Proceedings of the 17th Conference of the International Soil Tillage Research Organization, August 28 - September 3, 2006, Kiel, Germany. CD-ROM. pp. 730-735. Technical Abstract: Soil organic matter is a key component of soil quality that sustains many key soil functions by providing the energy, substrates, and biological diversity to support biological activity, which affects (1) aggregation (important for habitat space, oxygen supply, and preventing soil erosion), infiltration (important for leaching, runoff, and crop water uptake), and decomposition (important for nutrient cycling and detoxification of amendments). Lack of residue cover and exposure of soil to high-intensity rainfall can result in poor aggregation, reduced plant water availability, erosion, and off-site impacts of sedimentation and poor water quality. It is hypothesized that the degree of soil organic matter stratification could indicate soil quality or soil ecosystem functioning. A review of literature was conducted to relate soil organic matter stratification to water runoff quality. Despite high concentrations of surface soil nutrients associated with high soil organic matter stratification, water runoff volume and quality do not appear to be at much greater risk of loss, except for an increase in bioavailable P. Further research is needed to quantify relationships.