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  Eur.J.Hortic.Sci. 80 (5) 208-215 | DOI: 10.17660/eJHS.2015/80.5.2
ISSN 1611-4426 print and 1611-4434 online | © ISHS 2015 | European Journal of Horticultural Science | Original article

Carbon sequestration in a nectarine orchard as affected by green manure in China

Y.X. Wang, B.Q. Weng, J. Ye, Z.M. Zhong and Y.B. Huang
Institute of Agricultural Ecology, Fujian Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Fuzhou, China

Information is scarce on long-term effects of green manure on carbon storage in fruit orchards, an important issue for carbon footprinting according to PAS 2050-1 not only in Europe. Thus, for assessing carbon sequestration, the carbon distribution in the vegetation, litter and soil within the same nectarine orchard was compared with three management practices such as sloping plot without conservation measures (T1), a terraced plot without conservation measures (T2), and a terraced plot with green manure of Arachis pintoi ‘Amarillo’ as mulch (T3), with the following results: (a) carbon storages of fruit tree and litter in the nectarine orchard ranged from 13.0 to 14.7 t carbon ha-1, and 0.54 to 0.59 kg carbon per plant, respectively. No significant difference was found between different treatments. However, the carbon storage from A. pintoi increased to 5.12 t carbon ha-1 in the T3 treatment. (b) Soil organic carbon (SOC) and soil organic carbon density (SOCD) in T3 treatment significantly increased compared with T1 and T2 treatments, and decreased with the increase of soil depth. A significant difference was observed between every soil layers in T3 treatment. (c) During the 13 years after orchard establishment, the soil organic carbon sources influenced the δ13C distribution with depth and carbon originate. The upper soil layer SOC turnover in T3 treatment (a mean 63.1% of replacement in the 0–20 cm soil layer after 13 years) was 1.59 and 1.41 times greater than those of T1 and T2 treatments, respectively, indicating that terraced nectarine orchard with A. pintoi as green manure could rapidly sequester SOC in subtropical China.

Keywords carbon footprint, soil organic carbon, δ13C,carbon sequestration, nectarine, PAS 2050-1

Significance of this study

What is already known on this subject?

  • Orchards, as one of the semi-permanent cultivation practices, occupy over 4.8×105 km2 in the world. Information is scarce on long-term effects of green manure on carbon storage in fruit orchards, an important issue for carbon footprinting according to PAS 2050-1 not only in Europe.
What are the new findings?
  • The green manure mulch practice had no significant impact on fruit tree biomass carbon storage, and significantly increased organic carbon storage in 0–100 cm soil layer.
What is the expected impact on horticulture?
  • The adoption of Arachis pintoi in terraced orchards rapidly increases carbon sink and offers great ecological benefits.

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Received: 16 September 2014 | Revised: 19 May 2015 | Accepted: 23 June 2015 | Published: 23 October 2015 | Available online: 23 October 2015

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