Soil aggregate stability under different landscapes and vegetation types in a semiarid area in northeastern Syria
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Hitoshi Shinjo, Haruhiro Fujita, Gustave Gintzburger, Takashi Kosaki. (4/1/2012). Soil aggregate stability under different landscapes and vegetation types in a semiarid area in northeastern Syria. Soil Science and Plant Nutrition, 46 (1), pp. 229-240.
The influence of landscapes and vegetation types on soil aggregate stability was studied at 55 sites in rangeland and 18 sites in cropland in northeastern Syria. For the measurement of soil aggregate stability, the wet-sieving test was applied to air-dried and prewetted aggregates. As soil properties, pH, EC, organic carbon content, inorganic carbon content, sand content were determined. Slope gradients at all the sites and soil surface coverage at the sites in the rangeland were also determined. Due to the slaking process, the stability of air-dried aggregates with a mean value of 47.5 × 10-2 kg kg-1 was lower than that of prewetted ones with a mean value of 89.8 × 10-2 kg kg-1. The absence of a significant relationship between the soil aggregate stability and soil chemical properties in the cropland suggested the influence of tillage. Principal component analysis and stepwise multiple regression analysis for the sites in the rangeland indicated that the air-dried aggregate stability could be described by a coverage factor and slope factor (r=0.76). The contribution of the coverage factor suggested that the increase of the soil organic matter content through the addition of plant materials and protection of the soil surface from the raindrop impact could enhance the soil aggregate stability. The positive contribution of the slope factor implied that unstable aggregates on steeper slopes had already been translocated, while stable aggregates remained. Thus, for the preservation of the soil aggregate stability, the soil surface coverage should be improved especially on gentler slopes.
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