Short-Term Effect of Sugarcane Straw on Soil Organic Carbon Pools

Luiz Fernando C. Leite, Edvaldo Sagrilo, Ademir Sergio F. de Araújo, Henrique Antunes de Souza


This study aimed to evaluate the short-term effect of sugarcane straw on soil organic carbon (SOC) stocks in tropical soils. The treatments simulated the maintenance of different rates of sugarcane straw (0, 2.2, 5.1, 7.8 and 12 t ha-1) applied on the soil surface, with four replication, and evaluated chemical and biological attributes in four depths (0-0.05; 0.05-0.10; 0.10-0.20; 0.20-0.40 m). Results from soil samples collected in the rainy and dry seasons showed evidence of positive short-term effects of green harvest either on labile and humified soil organic matter (SOM) pools. For the total SOC stocks, we observed linear responses with straw rates in both sampling seasons. A decreased humification index in the topsoil suggests more labile C pools available in the soil, resulting in a significant increase in microbial activity. Microbial indicators point towards a steady equilibrium in SOC turnover, which can lead to future lower increases in SOC stocks if high straw amounts are maintained on the soil surface. Therefore, long-term studies under low-latitude areas are necessary to model the potential of C sequestration in sugarcane green harvest systems.

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Journal of Agricultural Science   ISSN 1916-9752 (Print)   ISSN 1916-9760 (Online)  E-mail:

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