Impact of Topsoil Depth and Amendment Application on Soil and Carbon Losses under Simulated Rainfall

Research poster
Nall Moonilall
Rattan Lal
School of Environment and Natural Resources

Topsoil loss due to erosion is a continued threat to the productivity and sustainability of agroecosystems in the Midwestern United States. Amendment application in the form of composts and fertilizers has the ability to restore and improve soil health of eroded soils. A study was conducted on a soil in Central Ohio with varying topsoil depths (TSD) with the objectives of (1) assessing the rate of soil, carbon, and nutrient losses for soils with varying TSDs and different amendment applications and (2) assessing the effect of moisture content (dry vs. wet) on the losses incurred. Treatments at the study site have three topsoil depths {(1) removal of 20 cm of soil, (2) undisturbed soil, and (3) addition of 20 cm of soil} and two soil amendment types {(1) compost manure and (2) synthetic N fertilizer}. Preliminary results and conclusions show that soils that were undisturbed (original topsoil depth) incurred fewer soil and carbon losses. Furthermore, soils amended with compost manure experienced lower overall losses then those amended with only synthetic N. Lastly, soils with lower SOC content and lower % water stable aggregates had greater soil and carbon losses. The evaluation of the susceptibility for rehabilitated soils to undergo the erosional process will allow for greater understanding of the impact it will have on overall soil health and agronomic yields. Restoration and maintenance of soil health of eroded soils will allow for enhanced food security and environmental sustainability.