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Brunori E.,University of Tuscia | Farina R.,Centro Of Ricerca Per Lo Studio Delle Relazioni Tra Pianta E Suolo Rps | Biasi R.,University of Tuscia
Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment | Year: 2016

In addition to food production, tree crop-based agrosystems can provide other ecosystem services (ES) such as soil fertility maintenance, soil and water retention and landscape preservation. Tree crops can also act as carbon (C) storage facilities and climate change mitigating systems. We focus on the nature of viticulture as a provider of ES, in particular C storage. This study has been carried out focusing on two different wine-grape growing areas in central Italy (Latium region; natural and peri-urban hilly areas) where the vines (Vitis vinifera sativa L., cv Merlot) were cultivated according to two different management techniques (conventional vs organic farming). Grapevine C storage levels were analyzed in the two main vine C pools during the 2011 and 2012 growing seasons, i.e., above-ground and below-ground biomass, in accordance with the Net Ecosystem Production (NEP) methodology. In order to quantify C sequestration at the vineyard level, we determined soil C sequestration and soil functionality through the measurement of Total Organic Carbon (TOC), microbial biomass and soil and grapevine root respiration. To conclude, the net C balance was assessed at both the grapevine and the vineyard scale.Although the highest dry matter partitioning in the grapevines was measured in the above-ground organs, the root systems contributed to between 9 and 26% of the total vine C fixation. The soil's C fixation was maximized in the organically managed vineyards (73.35 tC ha-1). The CO2 sequestration of one hectare of vineyard ranged between 5.72 (±0.07) and 7.23(±1.11) tC ha-1 year-1. Soil respiration represented the main (99%) CO2 emission source in the vineyard agro-ecosystems.The Principal Component Analysis (PCA) indicated that the soil physical characteristics, the grapevine's biological properties, and the vineyard's management techniques, like those handling the inter-row space that highly differ in the organic and conventional farming, turned out to be the main factors influencing the soil's C storage and consequently the vineyard's C balance.Together, these findings prove that vineyards can act as C sinks, if properly managed. Furthermore, vineyards could represent a crucial cropping system able to provide pivotal ecological services such as carbon dioxide sequestration. Viticulture can also contribute to the preservation and regulation of natural resources -, such as soil and agricultural landscapes, according to the new European Commune Agricultural Policy (CAP). © 2016 Elsevier B.V.

Trinchera A.,Centro Of Ricerca Per Lo Studio Delle Relazioni Tra Pianta E Suolo Rps | Testani E.,Centro Of Ricerca Per Lo Studio Delle Relazioni Tra Pianta E Suolo Rps | Ciaccia C.,Centro Of Ricerca Per Lo Studio Delle Relazioni Tra Pianta E Suolo Rps | Campanelli G.,Consiglio per la Ricerca in Agricoltura e lAnalisi dellEconomia Agraria CREA | And 2 more authors.
Acta Horticulturae | Year: 2016

In an organically-designed horticultural system, cash crops, Agro-ecological Service-providing Crops (ASC, such as living much, cover crops, etc.) and weeds share the same space by communicating with each other and exchanging water and nutrients through the root network. In such tailored organic systems, ASCs could promote below-ground plant-microorganism interactions through AMF (Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi) infection, so as to increase P uptake by the cash crop. In a two-year experiment, artichoke (Cynara cardunculus L. var. scolymus L.) was intercropped with a selected mix of cover crops in a randomized block design with two factors: the living mulch (LM and no LM) and the artichoke cultivars ('Mazzaferrata' and 'Jesino'). To evaluate the effect of living mulch on biotic and abiotic rhizosphere interactions, root AMF infection of artichoke was evaluated by SEM and optical microscope analysis. Moreover, soil rhizosphere P, artichoke yield and crop P uptake were determined at the time of harvest. At comparable crop yields, proliferation of root hairs, increase of mucilage exudation and a higher mycorrhization were observed in LM 'Jesino' lartichoke with respect to the no LM one, despite the lower available soil P in the 'rhizosphere, being cultivar-dependent.

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