Organic farming improves the soil organic matter storage in the agroecosystem,
changing the soil microbial community
Bo Ram Kang, Young Jun Bae, Soundarya Rajapitamahuni, So Hee Park and Tae Kwon Lee*
Department of Environmental and Energy Engineering, Yonsei University, Wonju, Republic of Korea
The terrestrial ecosystem, a large reservoir of reactive carbon, moderates the global and regional biogeochemical carbon cycle. Sustainable soil management (e.g., organic farming) in agroecosystems could contribute to climate change mitigation via increasing soil organic matter storage. Here, we investigated the effect of the duration of organic farming on the soil microbial community and examined how these changes are associated with soil carbon use efficiency (CUE) and soil organic matter stocks using structural equation modeling. We found that organic farming altered the structure of the soil microbial community when compared with the agricultural soil managed with synthetic fertilization. We also found that community compositions, which increased with the duration of organic farming, were a significant predictor of CUE. As the duration of organic farming increased, the direct CUE-microbial link was more influential than the indirect CUE-microbial-abiotic (e.g., water contents, micro- and macronutrients) links. This study provides evidence that long-term period organic farming can improve the soil organic matter storage through changes in the microbial community, which in turn contribute to climate change mitigation.