Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: SOIL AND CROP MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS TO SUSTAIN AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTION AND ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY IN THE NORTHERN GREAT PLAINS

Location: Soil Management Research

Title: Restoring a landscape to reduce erosion-induced variability in soil properties affecting productivity

Authors
item Papiernik, Sharon
item Lindstrom, Michael
item Lobb, David - UNIV. MANITOBA
item Schumacher, Thomas - SD STATE UNIV.
item Schumacher, Joseph - SD STATE UNIV.
item Smith, Diane - UNIV. MANITOBA

Submitted to: ASA-CSSA-SSSA Annual Meeting Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: November 8, 2007
Publication Date: November 8, 2007
Citation: Papiernik, S.K., Lindstrom, M.J., Lobb, D.A., Schumacher, T.E., Schumacher, J.A., Smith, D. 2007. Restoring a landscape to reduce erosion-induced variability in soil properties affecting productivity [abstract][CD-ROM]. ASA-CSSA-SSSA Annual Meeting Abstracts. ASA-CSSA-SSSA Annual Meeting. Nov. 4-8, 2007, New Orleans, LA.

Technical Abstract: In hilly landscapes, tillage and water erosion can combine to induce large variability in soil productivity at the field scale. Approaches to manage this variability have been proposed, including restoring the landscape by physically moving soil from areas of net deposition to areas of net soil loss. We evaluated the variability in soil properties and crop yield in an eroded landscape that has been cultivated for the past 100 years and in portions of the same landscape subject to restoration. In highly-eroded positions (summit, shoulder, and upper backslope), the surface soil is comprised of exposed subsoil high in inorganic carbon. Deep accumulation (>40 cm) of high-organic-matter soil was observed in the footslope and toeslope. Surface soil organic carbon, Olsen phosphorus, nitrate-N, and total nitrogen concentrations in the toeslope were more than twice that in the summit, shoulder, and upper backslope positions prior to restoration. After moving accumulated topsoil from the footslope and toeslope to the eroded upper landscape positions, surface soil organic carbon, phosphorus, and total nitrogen concentrations in upper slope positions were similar to those in the toeslope. In the first year following restoration, soybean yields were uniform from the summit through the footslope in the restored plots: minimum soybean yields (in the upper backslope) were within 10% of yields in the footslope. In unrestored plots, minimum yields (in the upper backslope) were only 40% of yields in the footslope. These first-year results indicate that soil movement from areas of net deposition to areas of topsoil depletion may reduce the spatial variability in soil properties that affect productivity in eroded landscapes. The project will continue for another four years to more completely evaluate the productivity and profitability of this restoration approach.

Last Modified: 4/23/2014
Footer Content Back to Top of Page