Project properties

Title Do conservation tillage practices really increase soil C sequestration?
Group Soil Biology
Project type thesis
Credits 24-39
Supervisor(s) Gabriel Moinet (SBL), Bert Rijk (PPS), Rommie van der Weide
Examiner(s) prof.dr. Rachel Creamer
Contact info Gabriel Moinet (gabriel.moinet@wur.nl)
Begin date 2021/09/01
End date
Description Conservation tillage practices (no-till, reduced tillage, shallow tillage) have been widely used to alleviate the negative effects of conventional cropland management practices. These techniques are already implemented on 155 million hectares worldwide, representing 11% of global croplands. These practices have been particularly praised for the beneficial effect on C sequestration, but recent meta-analyses highlight that many studies do not accurately account for changes in C stocks.
On the WUR research station of Lelystad, a long-term experiment (since 2009) has been conducted to measure the effects of different tillage practices. The experimental set-up offers a great opportunity to fully and accurately assess the soil C sequestration potential of these practices and if they indeed offer the climate mitigation solution that they are often praised for.
Soil samples have been collected through the soil profile of several of these treatments and stored for further analyses. The student will perform a range of laboratory analyses to determine physical, chemical and biological properties of the soils and the distribution of organic carbon in fractions of different stability. Combined to existing data at the site, this will allow evaluate the climate mitigation potential of conservation tillage in a Dutch context.
Used skills Literature review, writing proposal and thesis, experimental design, chemical and biological laboratory work, data analysis.
Requirements Required courses for MSc thesis Soil Biology