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Effects of conservation tillage on crop yield and soil organic carbon in Northeast China
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  • Cong He,
  • Jia-Rui Niu,
  • Cheng-Tang Xu,
  • Shou-Wei Han,
  • Wei Bai,
  • Qiu-Lai Song,
  • Yash Dang,
  • Hai-Lin Zhang
Cong He
China Agricultural University
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Jia-Rui Niu
China Agricultural University
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Cheng-Tang Xu
China Agricultural University
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Shou-Wei Han
China Agricultural University
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Wei Bai
Liaoning Academy of Agricultural Sciences
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Qiu-Lai Song
Heilongjiang Academy of Agricultural Sciences
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Yash Dang
University of Queensland
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Hai-Lin Zhang
China Agricultural University
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Abstract

Northeast China(NEC) is the main grain-producing area in China, but soil degradation is severe due to the long-term use of conventional tillage(CT). It is necessary to restore soil fertility, maintain crop yield, and enhance sustainability using conservation tillage in NEC. However, the integrated effects of conservation tillage on crop yield and SOC under different conditions in NEC are still unclear. Using 70 peer-reviewed papers, we assessed the crop yield and SOC sequestration effect, and their relationship under no-till(NT), ridge tillage(RT), and subsoiling tillage(ST) in NEC. The results indicated that in areas with a mean annual temperature (MAT) < 3℃, yield under NT was significantly lower than CT by 3.7% whereas RT and ST were higher than CT by 0.8% and 13.1% (P<0.05). RT generally had a similar effect on yield as NT, but RT did not have a negative impact on yield in colder regions, indicating that this may be a more suitable conservation tillage practice in these areas. ST may be used in rotation with other tillage measures to maintain crop yield if necessary. NT could increase SOC concentration by 24.1%, 43.9%, and 17.4% under high MAT (>6℃), low mean annual precipitation (MAP) (<500mm), and continuous cropping, respectively. The mean SOC sequestration rate under NT, RT, and ST was 0.953, 0.099, and 0.101 Mg C ha-1 yr-1, respectively. Overall, the implementation of different conservation tillage measures in NEC can enhance crop yield as well as carbon sequestration, indicating its potential to be popularized in NEC.