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Reduced plant water use can explain higher soil moisture in organic compared to conventional farming systems
JournalArticle (Originalarbeit in einer wissenschaftlichen Zeitschrift)
ID 4647150
Author(s) Schaerer, Marie-Louise; Dietrich, Lars; Kundel, Dominika; Maeder, Paul; Kahmen, Ansgar
Author(s) at UniBasel Kahmen, Ansgar
Schärer, Marie-Louise
Dietrich, Lars
Year 2022
Title Reduced plant water use can explain higher soil moisture in organic compared to conventional farming systems
Journal Agriculture Ecosystems & Environment
Volume 332
Pages / Article-Number ARTN 107915
Keywords Organic farming; DOK trial; Soil moisture; Stomatal conductance; Soil water evaporation; Root water uptake depth; Water use
Abstract Conventional high-input farming systems in Europe are often regarded as unsustainable with severe environmental impacts on biodiversity, soils, water and climate. Low-input farming approaches, such as organic farming, have been proposed to reduce environmental impacts while further improving soil properties such as soil organic matter content and aggregate stability. Whether these changes also influence ecohydrological properties and improve the water relations of organically grown crops remains unclear. In this study we assessed the long-term effects of conventional and organic farming systems on the water relations of soils and crops in the "DOK" (bioDynamic, bio-Organic & 'Konventionell' = conventional) trial. In particular, we tested if organic and conventional farming lead to marked differences in soil moisture, soil water evaporation, as well as root water uptake depth and stomatal conductance of winter wheat and soybean during the growing seasons 2017 and 2018. Stable isotope analyses and ecophysiological measurements revealed that organic compared to conventional farming did not affect soil water evaporation or root water uptake depths. Instead, we found higher soil moisture in the rooting zone and reduced stomatal conductance (gs) in organically grown wheat. Treatment effects on soil moisture and gs of soybean were smaller but showed similar tendencies as observed in wheat. Also, leaf area, and grain and straw yield of wheat decreased under organic farming while yields of soybean were not affected by the treatments. Based on our data we suggest that reduced plant water use observed under organically managed farming lead to the observed higher soil moisture in organically compared to conventionally managed farming systems in the DOK trial. These results suggest advantages of organic farming regarding agronomic water use as well as for the resistance of farming systems to current or future drought scenarios.
ISSN/ISBN 0167-8809 ; 1873-2305
Full Text on edoc No
Digital Object Identifier DOI 10.1016/j.agee.2022.107915
ISI-Number 000790514700005
Document type (ISI) Article

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