Trends in soil ecosystem function along a gradient of plant diversity in agricultural

O’Neill, B., T.K. Teal, A.S. Grandy and T.M. Schmidt

Presented at the All Scientist Meeting (2012-03-15 to 2012-03-16 )

Modern row crop agriculture is under pressure to increase food, fiber and fuel production, while reducing environmental impacts. A proposed method to achieve these goals is to offset external agronomic inputs by stimulating ecosystem processes via increasing plant diversity in cropping systems. This study examines a gradient of rotational and cropping system complexity for trends in nutrient stocks and turnover, and some of the microbially mediated processes in nutrient cycling. In particular we examined patterns emissions of carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide and speculate on the potential source of these across the gradient.

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