Managing carbon fluxes in a peach orchard

G. Montanaro, B. Dichio, A.N. Mininni, T. Berloco, A. Capogrossi, C. Xiloyannis
Fruit tree ecosystems have the potential to sequester atmospheric CO2 into the main carbon (C) pools (i.e., soil, biomass and litter). However, carbon capture capacity might be influenced by the orchard management practices that collectively impact on the C budget. This study summarizes the effect of a multiyear application of a set of sustainable management practices (no tillage, compost supply, cover crops, mulching of pruning residues) on the C budget in a peach orchard (500 p ha‑1, GF677, 'Super Crimson'). A 1-ha plot managed with conventional practices (tillage, burning of crop residues, mineral fertilization) served as a control. The annual net atmospheric CO2 removal (NEP) was determined accounting for annual CO2 soil emissions and for the amount of C stored into the newly formed above and belowground tree biomass. The mean annual NEP was close to 11.7 (conventional) and 17.5 t CO2 ha‑1 year‑1 (sustainable). These results highlight the critical role of appropriate management of the variable components on sustaining ecosystem resilience, including the management of pruning residues, the import of organic materials, and the maintenance of a cover crop. The C sequestration in soil and biomass at the end of orchard lifespan along with a series of ecosystem services (e.g., soil hydraulic conductivity, biodiversity, plant nutrition, soil water holding capacity) delivered by the sustainable induced increased soil C are presented.
Montanaro, G., Dichio, B., Mininni, A.N., Berloco, T., Capogrossi, A. and Xiloyannis, C. (2021). Managing carbon fluxes in a peach orchard. Acta Hortic. 1304, 201-206
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2021.1304.28
biomass, climate change, GHG, soil carbon

Acta Horticulturae