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Journal of Arid Land  2014, Vol. 6 Issue (4): 478-487    DOI: 10.1007/s40333-013-0207-6
Research Articles     
Effects of fencing on vegetation and soil restoration in a degraded alkaline grassland in northeast China
Qiang LI1,2, DaoWei ZHOU1*, YingHua JIN3, MinLing WANG1, YanTao SONG1, GuangDi LI4
1 Northeast Institute of Geography and Agroecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Changchun 130102, China;
2 University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China;
3 School of Geography Science, Northeast Normal University, Changchun 130012, China;
4 Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation
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Abstract  In order to restore a degraded alkaline grassland, the local government implemented a large restoration project using fences in Changling county, Jilin province, China, in 2000. Grazing was excluded from the protected area, whereas the grazed area was continuously grazed at 8.5 dry sheep equivalent (DSE)/hm2. In the current re-search, soil and plant samples were taken from grazed and fenced areas to examine changes in vegetation and soil properties in 2005, 2006 and 2008. Results showed that vegetation characteristics and soil properties improved significantly in the fenced area compared with the grazed area. In the protected area the vegetation cover, height and above- and belowground biomass increased significantly. Soil pH, electrical conductivity and bulk density decreased significantly, but soil organic carbon and total nitrogen concentration increased greatly in the protected area. By comparing the vegetation and soil characteristics with pre-degraded grassland, we found that vegetation can recover 6 years after fencing, and soil pH can be restored 8 years after fencing. However, the restoration of soil organic carbon, total nitrogen and total phosphorus concentrations needed 16, 30 and 19 years, respectively. It is recommended that the stocking rate should be reduced to 1/3 of the current carrying capacity, or that a grazing regime of 1-year of grazing followed by a 2-year rest is adopted to sustain the current status of vegetation and soil resources. However, if N fertilizer is applied, the rest period could be shortened, depending on the rate of application.

Key wordsBromus tectorum      diaspore      micromorphology      lemma      Kazakhstan      United States      Xinjiang of China     
Received: 13 June 2013      Published: 12 August 2014

This study was supported by the National Key Basic Research Program of China (2011CB403203) and the Strategic Science and Technology Guide Project of Chinese Academy of Sciences (XDA05050401).

Corresponding Authors: DaoWei ZHOU     E-mail:
Cite this article:

Qiang LI, DaoWei ZHOU, YingHua JIN, MinLing WANG, YanTao SONG, GuangDi LI. Effects of fencing on vegetation and soil restoration in a degraded alkaline grassland in northeast China. Journal of Arid Land, 2014, 6(4): 478-487.

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