Plant cocktails used as cover crop present a significant multifunctional resource compared to monoculture, which may increase functional diversity within crop rotation and is particularly effective for designing mixtures with characteristics that increase the multifunctionality and sustainability of the agroecosystem. The objective was to evaluate sustainable agroecosystems models that improve the efficiency of nutrient cycling for crops. The treatments were arranged in four blocks in a split-plot design with two soil management (tillage and no-till) systems and three cropping systems (2 plant cocktails [PCs] and 1 natural vegetation [NV]). C/N ratio, lignin content, dry biomass (DB) production and decomposition, nutrients accumulation and mineralization by PCs and NV were evaluated. Decomposition and release of nutrients were monitored by the litterbag-method. PCs had a DB production twice higher than NV, essential for the adoption of no-tillage systems. The order of nutrient release was K> N> Ca> P> Mg. PCs as cover crops and green manure, with or without predominance of legumes and use of a no-tillage system, could be a technological strategy in agroecosystems for nutrients cycling in semi-arid regions.
Keywords: plant mixture, soil management, mineralization rate, macronutrient, sustainable agriculture.
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