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Journal of Arid Land  2015, Vol. 7 Issue (3): 361-369    DOI: 10.1007/s40333-015-0004-5
Research Articles     
Sheep manure application increases soil exchangeable base cations in a semi-arid steppe of Inner Mongolia
YuGe ZHANG1,2, Shan YANG1,2, MingMing FU1,3, JiangPing CAI1,3, YongYong ZHANG1,3,
RuZhen WANG1,3, ZhuWen XU1, YongFei BAI4, Yong JIANG1*
1 State Key Laboratory of Forest and Soil Ecology, Institute of Applied Ecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shenyang 110016, China;
2 Key Laboratory of Regional Environment and Eco-remediation, College of Environment, Shenyang University, Shenyang 110044, China;
3 University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China;
4 State Key Laboratory of Vegetation and Environmental Change, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093, China
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Abstract  The long-term productivity of a soil is greatly influenced by cation exchange capacity (CEC). Moreover, interactions between dominant base cations and other nutrients are important for the health and stability of grassland ecosystems. Soil exchangeable base cations and cation ratios were examined in a 11-year experiment with sheep manure application rates 0–1,500 g/(m2•a) in a semi-arid steppe in Inner Mongolia of China, aiming to clarify the relationships of base cations with soil pH, buffer capacity and fertility. Results showed that CEC and contents of exchangeable calcium (Ca2+), magnesium (Mg2+), potassium (K+) and sodium (Na+) were significantly increased, and Ca2+ saturation tended to decrease, while K+ saturation tended to increase with the increases of sheep manure application rates. The Ca2+ /Mg2+ and Ca2+/K+ ratios decreased, while Mg2+, K+ and Na+ saturations increased with increasing manure application rates. Both base cations and CEC were significantly and positively correlated with soil organic carbon (SOC) and soil pH. The increases of SOC and soil pH would be the dominant factors that con-tribute to the increase of cations in soil. On a comparison with the initial soil pH before the experiment, we deduced that sheep manure application could partly buffer soil pH decrease potentially induced by atmospheric deposition of nitrogen and sulfur. Our results indicate that sheep manure application is beneficial to the maintenance of base cations and the buffering of soil acidification, and therefore can improve soil fertility in the semi-arid steppes of northeastern China.

Received: 28 June 2014      Published: 05 February 2015

This work was funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41371251, 31370009) and the National Basic Research Program of China (2011CB403204).

Cite this article:

YuGe ZHANG, Shan YANG, MingMing FU, JiangPing CAI, YongYong ZHANG, . Sheep manure application increases soil exchangeable base cations in a semi-arid steppe of Inner Mongolia. Journal of Arid Land, 2015, 7(3): 361-369.

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