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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Vineyard Management Methods for Carbon Sequestration in Soil: a Stable Isotope Approach

Authors
item Pierce, Danielle - UCD, VIT & ENOLOGY
item Steenwerth, Kerri
item Harris, David - LAWR, UC DAVIS
item Smart, David - UCD, VIT & ENOLOGY

Submitted to: Soil Science Society of America Annual Meeting
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: June 1, 2005
Publication Date: August 1, 2005
Citation: Pierce, D.L., Steenwerth, K.L., Harris, D., Smart, D.R. 2005. Vineyard management methods for carbon sequestration in soil: a stable isotope approach. Soil Science Society of America Annual Meeting.

Interpretive Summary: Altering management practices may provide a real potential for agricultural ecosystems to serve as carbon (C) sinks, which can help mitigate the observed increase in carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration in the atmosphere. Management treatments of conservation and conventional tillage were investigated in an Oakville, CA vineyard. A cover crop of barley (UC 603) was planted between vineyard rows in November 2003. The stable isotope 13C was used to label the barley, which provided a signal that could distinguish its decomposition from the resident soil organic matter pool after treatments were imposed. In late March 2004, the labeled barley was mowed and its litter left on the surface or it was tilled into the soil. Subsequent decomposition of the labeled barley was monitored. Our preliminary results have shown that relatively more cover crop C is retained under conservation vs. conventional tillage, and that soil C dynamics in the Mediterranean climate differ from the Midwest and Central Plains Regions where many soil C stabilization studies have been conducted. Approximately 16% of California's grape acreage is sown to cover crops, indicating that there is potential for increasing this management practice in vineyards.

Technical Abstract: Altering management practices may provide a real potential for agricultural ecosystems to serve as C sinks, which can help mitigate the observed increase in CO2 concentration in the atmosphere. Management treatments of conservation and conventional tillage were investigated in an Oakville, CA vineyard. A cover crop of barley (UC 603) was planted between vineyard rows in November 2003. We have shown in the first season of this investigation that 13CO2 labeling can be used to monitor carbon turnover by estimating source 13C content. The immediate enrichments observed in the mow and till treatments may be due to the decomposition of isotopically labeled fresh plant material and the ensuing depletion may indicate a reduction in available 13C labeled litter fractions. The mowed treatment showed a slower rate of change in respired 13C relative to the tilled treatments. Thus, our preliminary results have shown that some cover crop C is retained under conservation vs. conventional tillage. It is estimated that approximately 16% of California's grape acreage is sown to cover crops, indicating that there is potential for increasing this management practice in vineyards.

Last Modified: 10/23/2014
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