Real cover crops contribution to soil organic carbon sequestration in sloping vineyard

Mauro Sarno, Agata Novara, Alessandra Carrubba, Luciano Gristina, Giacomo Venezia, Jesus Rodrigo-Comino, Mario Minacapilli

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64 Citations (Scopus)


The research focused on the evaluation of the effect of soil erosion processes on SOC sequestration rate after 5 years of cover crop soil management in Mediterranean vineyards (Sicily, Italy). Two paired sites, one in a sloping area and another one in a contiguous flat area, were chosen. The vineyard soils of the two plots of each paired site were managed with conventional soil tillage (CT) and Vicia faba cover crop (CC) the preceding 5 years. SOC was measured in three points along the slope (top, middle and foot parts) and in the flat area. Results showed that in the slope area the highest SOC content was found in CC management, with an average value of 9.52 ± 0.34 g kg −1 , whereas the SOC content under CT was 8.74 ± 0.20 g kg −1 . In the flat vineyard, the SOC ranged from 9.88 ± 0.11 g kg −1 to 10.47 ± 0.20 g kg −1 under CT and CC, respectively. The SOC increase was 6% in the flat area and 9% in the sloping vineyard after five years since CC management adoption. The higher C sequestration rates in the sloping vineyard in comparison to the flat area could be attributed to the role of CC to prevent sediment and nutrient erosion. These results were compared with those by reference works and with the results of 39 vineyards paired-sites. Findings demonstrated that C sequestration rate is strongly correlated to slope gradient and the C sequestration per se due to the effect of added C input by the cover crop is overestimated.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)300-306
Number of pages7
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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