Widely occurring soil acidification in Chinese cropland causes crop yield decrease and cadmium (Cd) accumulation in crops, mainly due to losses of base cations (BC) induced by nitrate leaching in response to the (over)use of nitrogen (N) fertilizers. Replacing chemical fertilizers by manure is an effective choice to reduce N fertilizer application and counteract losses of BC, elevating the soil pH to an appropriate level. Replacing fertilizer by manure application might however cause Cd accumulation in soils due to enhanced Cd contents in manure. Furthermore, the manure amounts may not be enough to counteract soil acidification, thus requiring additional lime inputs. The major aim of this project is to develop a sustainable management strategy for soil acidity of croplands at regional scale, in view of both crop yield decrease and Cd accumulation in crops, based on a process based modelling approach.
We provide a disciplinary and multidisciplinary research programme aimed at advanced understanding of environmental problems and advanced training of PhD candidates in this field.