Impact of Land-Use Changes on Soil Hydraulic Properties of Calcaric Regosols on the Loess Plateau, NW China

Yu, Miaozi, Zhang, Lulu, Xu, Xuexuan, Feger, Karl-Heinz, Wang, Yanhui, Liu, Wenzhao and Schwärzel, Kai, (2015). Impact of Land-Use Changes on Soil Hydraulic Properties of Calcaric Regosols on the Loess Plateau, NW China. Journal of Plant Nutrition and Soil Science, 178(3), 486-498

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  • Sub-type Journal article
    Author Yu, Miaozi
    Zhang, Lulu
    Xu, Xuexuan
    Feger, Karl-Heinz
    Wang, Yanhui
    Liu, Wenzhao
    Schwärzel, Kai
    Title Impact of Land-Use Changes on Soil Hydraulic Properties of Calcaric Regosols on the Loess Plateau, NW China
    Appearing in Journal of Plant Nutrition and Soil Science
    Volume 178
    Issue No. 3
    Publication Date 2015
    Place of Publication Weinheim
    Publisher John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
    Start page 486
    End page 498
    Language eng
    Abstract Vegetation restoration efforts (planting trees and grass) have been effective in controlling soil erosion on the Loess Plateau (NW China). Shifts in land cover result in modifications of soil properties. Yet, whether the hydraulic properties have also been improved by vegetation restoration is still not clear. The objective of this paper was to understand how vegetation restoration alters soil structure and related soil hydraulic properties such as permeability and soil water storage capacity. Three adjacent sites with similar soil texture, soil type, and topography, but different land cover (black locust forest, grassland, and cropland) were selected in a typical small catchment in the middle reaches of the Yellow River (Loess Plateau). Seasonal variation of soil hydraulic properties in topsoil and subsoil were examined. Our study revealed that land-use type had a significant impact on field-saturated, near-saturated hydraulic conductivity, and soil water characteristics. Specifically, conversion from cropland to grass or forests promotes infiltration capacity as a result of increased saturated hydraulic conductivity, air capacity, and macroporosity. Moreover, conversion from cropland to forest tends to promote the creation of mesopores, which increase soil water-storage capacity. Tillage of cropland created temporarily well-structured topsoil but compacted subsoil as indicated by low subsoil saturated hydraulic conductivity, air capacity, and plant-available water capacity. No impact of land cover conversion on unsaturated hydraulic conductivities at suction > 300 cm was found indicating that changes in land cover do not affect functional meso- and microporosity. Our work demonstrates that changes in soil hydraulic properties resulting from soil conservation efforts need to be considered when soil conservation measures shall be implemented in water-limited regions. For ensuring the sustainability of such measures, the impact of soil conversion on water resources and hydrological processes needs to be further investigated.
    Keyword Hydraulic conductivity
    Land-use change
    Loess Plateau
    Tillage
    Water retention curve
    Copyright Holder WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA
    Copyright Year 2015
    Copyright type All rights reserved
    DOI 10.1002/jpln.201400090
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    Created: Tue, 10 Jan 2017, 18:55:37 JST by Claudia Matthias on behalf of UNU FLORES