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Soil organic carbon and nitrogen fractions and water-stable aggregation as affected by cropping and grassland reclamation in an arid sub-alpine soil

Li, X.G., Zhang, P.L., Yin, P., Li, Y.K., Ma, Q., Long, R.J. and Li, F.M. (2009) Soil organic carbon and nitrogen fractions and water-stable aggregation as affected by cropping and grassland reclamation in an arid sub-alpine soil. Land Degradation & Development, 20 (2). pp. 176-186.

Link to Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ldr.895
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Abstract

This paper investigates effects of cropping abandonment and perennial grass growing on soil organic C and N pools and aggregate stability, by comparing soils under native grassland, crop cultivation, perennial grass growing and cropping abandonment, in degraded cropland at a sub-alpine site in north-western China. The pools of total and particulate organic C (115 and 37 Mg ha-1) in the 0-30 cm soil layer of native grassland were reduced by 31 and 54% after 30 years of crop cultivation. After 4 years of conversion from cropland to perennial grass growing total and particulate organic C pools were increased by 29 and 56%, whereas 4 year cropping abandonment increased particulate organic C by 36%. Rapid increases in total and particulate N were also found in perennial grass growing and cropping abandonment soils. The native grassland soil and soils of cropping abandonment and perennial grass growing had higher carbohydrate C concentrations in the 0-10 cm layer than the cropped soil. The rapid recovery of particulate organic fraction and carbohydrates in the re-vegetated soils were probably due to higher plant biomass inputs and lower organic matter decomposition compared with those in the cropped soil. Aggregate stability of the 0-30 cm soil layer was significantly decreased by crop cultivation but showed a good recovery after 4 year re-vegetations. This study suggests that reduction of soil organic matter and aggregate stability under crop cultivation may be remedied by cropping abandonment or perennial grass growing.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Publisher: John Wiley and Sons Ltd
Copyright: © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/32543
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