This study measured the impact of 35 years of crop rotation diversification on soil microbial communities and nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions.
Long-term diverse rotation alters nitrogen cycling bacterial groups and nitrous oxide emissions after nitrogen fertilization
Following nitrogen fertilizer application, results showed that diversifying corn-soybean rotation with wheat and cover crops increased N2O emissions. Nitrifying bacteria increased in response to inorganic N fertilizer application and their activity was sustained in the diverse cropping system. Diversified corn rotations had greater soil moisture in the early growing season, leading to better conditions for N2O emissions. Best management practices (BMPs) that include crop diversification need to consider microbial communities and greenhouse gas (GHG) production, in order to fully quantify the soil ecosystem services.