Green light for our systematic review on the effects of crop rotations on soil organic carbon in arable lands

NEWS | 2017-04-26

After review, our protocol has been published for our systematic review on how different crop rotations affect soil organic carbon (SR16). The review, which is a result from our earlier systematic map, has now begun to analyse the available evidence on the issue.

The primary question is how crop rotations in general influence the concentration or stock of soil organic carbon (SOC). To answer that question we will analyse and synthesise studies that have compared various crop rotation practices with single crop farming systems. We will also compare different crop rotation practices with each other; rotations involving legumes will be compared with those not including legumes, and rotations involving perennials will be compared with those involving only sown annual crops.

Farmlands with various crops. Copyright: Amanda Langford, from iStockphoto

The previous systematic map (SR4) identified 239 studies concerned with crop rotation practices. The literature searches have now been updated, and as a result the number of potentially useful studies for this systematic review will rise. However, all studies that are relevant to the question will be critically appraised, and those that are judged to be highly susceptible to bias will be excluded from the following quantitative synthesis.

The review team has written a review protocol, i.e. a detailed plan for how the review is to be conducted. It is now published in Environmental Evidence (see link in the margin at right).

The review will be conducted by researchers from the review team that conducted the systematic map. The team will have its first meeting in May, where they will develop methods for quality review of articles and data extraction.