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Journal of Arid Land  2018, Vol. 10 Issue (1): 129-139    DOI: 10.1007/s40333-017-0019-1
Orginal Article     
Effects of long-term cultivation practices and nitrogen fertilization rates on carbon stock in a calcareous soil on the Chinese Loess Plateau
Miao CAI1,2, Zhujun CHEN1,*(), Jianbin ZHOU1, Jichang HAN2, Qianyun SHI1
1 College of Natural Resources and Environment, Northwest A&F University, Yangling 712100, China;
2 Shaanxi Provincial Land Engineering Construction Group, Xi’an 710075, China;
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Soil organic carbon (SOC) and soil inorganic carbon (SIC) are important C pools in the Loess Plateau of Northwest China, however, variations of SOC and SIC stocks under different cultivation practices and nitrogen (N) fertilization rates are not clear in this area. A long-term field experiment started in June 2003 was conducted to investigate the SOC and SIC stocks in a calcareous soil of the Chinese Loess Plateau under four cultivation practices, i.e., fallow (FA), conventional cultivation (CC), straw mulch (SM), and plastic film-mulched ridge and straw-mulched furrow (RF), in combination with three N fertilization rates, i.e., 0 (N0), 120 (N120), and 240 (N240) kg N/hm2. Results indicate that the crop straw addition treatments (SM and RF) increased the contents of soil microbial biomass C (SMBC) and SOC, and the SOC stock increased by 10.1%-13.3% at the upper 20 cm soil depth in comparison to the 8-year fallow (FA) treatment. Meanwhile, SIC stock significantly increased by 19% at the entire tested soil depth range (0-100 cm) under all crop cultivation practices in comparison to that of soil exposed to the long-term fallow treatment, particularly at the upper 60 cm soil depth. Furthermore, moderate N fertilizer application (120 kg N/hm2) increased SOC stock at the upper 40 cm soil depth, whereas SIC stock decreased as the N fertilization rate increased. We conclude that the combined application of crop organic residues and moderate N fertilization rate could facilitate the sequestrations of SOC and SIC in the calcareous soil.

Key wordscalcareous soil      cultivation practices      N application rate      soil C stock      Loess Plateau     
Received: 21 April 2016      Published: 10 February 2018
Corresponding Authors: Zhujun CHEN     E-mail:
Cite this article:

Miao CAI, Zhujun CHEN, Jianbin ZHOU, Jichang HAN, Qianyun SHI. Effects of long-term cultivation practices and nitrogen fertilization rates on carbon stock in a calcareous soil on the Chinese Loess Plateau. Journal of Arid Land, 2018, 10(1): 129-139.

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