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


  • A. Novara University of Palermo
  • M. Pulido GeoEnvironmental Research Group, University of Extremadura
  • J. Rodrigo-Comino Instituto de Geomorfología y Suelos, Department of Geography, University of Málaga
  • S. Di Prima Université de Lyon, UMR5023 Ecologie des Hydrosystèmes Naturels et Anthropisés, CNRS, ENTPE
  • P. Smith Institute of Biological & Environmental Science, University of Aberdeen
  • L. Gristina Dipartimento di Scienze Agrarie, Alimentari e Forestali, University of Palermo
  • A. Gimenez-Morera Department of Economy and Social Sciences, Universitat Politècnica de València
  • E. Terol Department of Cartographic Engineering, Geodesy and Photogrammetry, Universitat Politècnica de València
  • D. Salesa 8Soil Erosion and Degradation Research Group, Department of Geography, Universitat de València
  • S. Keesstra Team Soil, Water and Land Use, Wageningen University Research, The Netherlands. Civil, Surveying and Environmental Engineering, The University of Newcastle, Australia




Organic carbon, citrus, long-term experiment, carbon sequestration rate


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.


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How to Cite

Novara A, Pulido M, Rodrigo-Comino J, Di Prima S, Smith P, Gristina L, Gimenez-Morera A, Terol E, Salesa D, Keesstra S. Long-term organic farming on a citrus plantation results in soil organic carbon recovery. CIG [Internet]. 2019 Jun. 18 [cited 2024 May 30];45(1):271-86. Available from: https://publicaciones.unirioja.es/ojs/index.php/cig/article/view/3794