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Improvement effect of semi-arid land afforestation on soil environment

Kojima, T., Inaba, K., Koyanagi, S., Suganuma, H., Kurosawa, K., Kawarasaki, S., Tanouchi, H., Harper, R., Yamada, K. and Hamano, H. (2009) Improvement effect of semi-arid land afforestation on soil environment. Journal of Arid Land Studies, 19 (1). pp. 141-144.

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Carbon fixation by afforestation in semi-arid land has been proposed as one of the most promising countermeasures against the global warming issue. Our demonstration area for carbon fixation suffered some serious problems, such as salinization and water logging, which we attempted to solve. We tried to reduce the groundwater level by taking advantage of the transpiration of planted trees. The two sites used were identified as D-low and D-high. In this study, the transpiration of planted trees, soil water change, and groundwater level were measured. E. sargentii and E. occidentalis were considered to be optimum. From the analyses of the groundwater and soil water contents, water was found to gather at the D-low site. However, analysis of the Neutron Moisture Meter (NMM) data indicated that the volumetric water content did not rise. Through the transpiration of planted trees, groundwater was absorbed via tree roots located in deep soil. Thus, the groundwater level was expected to decrease, but this decrease was prevented by the collected water. On the other hand, due to afforestation at the D-high site, where it was difficult for water to gather, a decreasing tendency in the amount of groundwater was clearly shown by the volumetric water content. Furthermore, the precipitation water trickled down through the soil surface layer, which was expected to mitigate the salt accumulation in topsoil. Soil improvement effects by afforestation, i.e., desalination and the prevention of water logging through the transpiration of planted trees, were confirmed in our research area.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Japanese Association for Arid Land Studies
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