Land degradation due to soil salinity and sodicity is a serious concern in arid ecosystems. Despite the importance of conservation tillage in carbon sequestration and improving soil properties, its effect on saline-sodic soils under amendment application remains unknown. Therefore, the present study aimed to explore the combined effects of inorganic (sulfuric acid and gypsum) and organic (vermicompost) soil amendments and tillage systems (zero, reduced and deep tillage) on saline-sodic soil properties and wheat productivity. Deep tillage with vermicompost application significantly improved soil physical and chemical properties compared with control. Interestingly, integration between deep tillage and vermicompost decreased soil salinity and sodicity by 37% and 34%, respectively, compared with zero tillage and unamended soils. The application of vermicompost surpassed chemical amendments in the improvement of saline-sodic soils and consequently increased the growth and yield of wheat, provided that deep tillage was used as a suitable tillage system. Although deep tillage reduced soil organic carbon, application of vermicompost not only compensated this reduction, but also significantly increased soil organic carbon. This confirms the potential of combined deep tillage and vermicompost as a method for environmentally reclaiming saline-sodic soils.
Keywords: Carbon sequestration; Conservation tillage; Land degradation; Sulfuric acid; Wheat yield.
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