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Dynamics of soil properties and organic carbon pool in topsoil of zokor-made mounds at an alpine site of the Qinghai–Tibetan Plateau

Li, X.G., Zhang, M.L., Li, Z.T., Shi, X.M., Ma, Q. and Long, R.J. (2009) Dynamics of soil properties and organic carbon pool in topsoil of zokor-made mounds at an alpine site of the Qinghai–Tibetan Plateau. Biology and Fertility of Soils, 45 (8). pp. 865-872.

Link to Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00374-009-0398-3
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Abstract

The population of burrowing plateau zokors (Myospalax baileyi) was markedly increased in the Qinghai- Tibetan Plateau. The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of zokor foraging and mound-making disturbance on topsoil properties and organic C pools at an alpine site of the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau. Surface (0-15 cm) soil samples were collected from mounds with different ages (3 months and 3, 6, and 15 years) and from undisturbed grassland. Above- and below-ground plant biomasses were depleted by zokors in newly created mounds (3 months). Plant cover and root biomass gradually recovered thereafter, but were still lower in the 15-year-old mounds than in the undisturbed soils. Organic C contents of coarse (>2 mm), soil (<2 mm), particulate (2-0.05 mm) fractions, and microbial biomass, organic C mineralization, β-glucosidase activity, urease activity, alkaline phosphatase activity, acid phosphatase activity, and soil aggregation were significantly lower in the 3, 6, and 15-year-old mound soils than in the undisturbed soils or newly created mound soils. Fifteen years after mound creation, the soil had only 12% of root biomass, 35% of coarse organic C, 83% of particulate organic C, 58% of microbial biomass C, 57% of 30-day respired C, and 45% of water-stable aggregate mean weight diameter, compared to values of the undisturbed soils. Our results suggested that foraging and mound-making by zokors have negative impacts on properties and organic matter content of the topsoil.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Springer-Verlag
Copyright: © Springer-Verlag 2009.
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/32545
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