Impact of crop rotations on soil organic matter quantity and quality

Published: 12 November 2023

The objective of this individual MSc-project is to characterize the quality of soil organic matter that has evolved during decades with contrasting crop rotations in a Swedish long-term field experiment.

Application deadline: 2024-01-31

Increasing carbon storage in soils is one way of mitigating climate change. Carbon sequestration in agricultural soils through improved management is particularly interesting because of its low costs and multiple co-benefits on soil quality. Soil organic carbon (SOC) content is the most important indicator of soil quality, acting as an agent for physical and biochemical soil properties, and fundamentally determines the fertility of soils.

Annual changes in SOC stocks are small compared to a large amount of C present in the soil and are difficult to measure, particularly in short timescales. Long-term field trials, where changes in SOC have accumulated over decades, are therefore valuable to estimate these changes in response to different experimental treatments.

We have recently studied the dynamics of SOC in topsoil and subsoil in long-term ley and cereal monoculture rotations with different fertilizer regimes (Börjesson et al. We now plan to further study changes in soil quality in the soil samples from this investigation, which are available in our archive. To characterize soil quality, we propose separating SOC into particulate and mineral-associated carbon fractions and that will be further characterized using spectroscopic methods.

SLU are cooperating with her within an ongoing research project ( The costs for travel and accommodation will be covered by the project.

This MSc-project will be supervised by Dr. Martin Bolinder, a senior scientist at the department of ecology at SLU. We expect that the thesis will be written in English.

Application: Please send an e-mail to Martin Bolinder,