Long-term manure application enhances organic carbon and nitrogen stocks in Mollisol subsoil

Muhammad Mohsin Abrar, Syed Atizaz Ali Shah, Nan Sun, Khalid Mehmood, Tariq Aziz, Muhammad Ahmed Waqas, Yiqi Luo, Baoku Zhou, Xingzhu Ma, Minggang Xu, Adnan Mustafa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Subsoils contain half of the total soil organic carbon (SOC) that is supposed to be relatively more persistent than that present in the topsoil. Improving SOC and total nitrogen (TN) stocks in croplands is crucial to mitigate climate change and ensuring food security. However, our insight into how the management practices and climatic variables influence stocks of SOC and TN, and crop grain yields in the soil profile is limited. In this study, we assessed the long-term impacts of mineral and manure fertilizers on SOC and TN stocks at soil profile levels (up to 100 cm), and cropping system (wheat–maize–soybean) grain yields. Results indicated that in the top 0–40-cm layers SOC and TN stocks were the highest in manure plus mineral fertilizers (MNPK) compared with control, that is, non-fertilized control (CK). Conversely, compared with NPK, sole application of manure (M) clearly increased SOC stocks by 19%, 40%, and 39% and TN stocks by 51%, 105%, and 116% in 40–60, 60–80, and 80–100 cm, respectively (p < 0.05). Moreover, Pearson correlation revealed that climate variables, that is, mean annual temperature (MAT) affected both SOC and TN stocks in 0–40-cm layers only of the soil profile. Our findings implicated that the sole application of manure (M) is vital to augment SOC and TN sequestration, particularly in the subsurface layers. However, trade-offs between SOC and TN sequestration and crop yields should also need to be considered while making recommendations for SOC and TN stocks maintenance and increasing crop productivity in terms of management strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)815-832
Number of pages18
JournalLand Degradation and Development
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 15 2023


  • SOC sequestration
  • animal manure
  • climatic variables
  • grain yield
  • mineral fertilization
  • nitrogen stock
  • soil profile

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Development
  • General Environmental Science
  • Soil Science


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