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Journal of Arid Land  2021, Vol. 13 Issue (8): 777-789    DOI: 10.1007/s40333-021-0014-4
    
Soil quality assessment in different dammed-valley farmlands in the hilly-gully mountain areas of the northern Loess Plateau, China
CHEN Shumin1,2, JIN Zhao1,3,*(), ZHANG Jing4, YANG Siqi1,5
1 State Key Laboratory of Loess and Quaternary Geology, Institute of Earth Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Xi'an 710061, China
2 University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
3 CAS Center for Excellence in Quaternary Science and Global Change, Xi'an 710061, China
4 Xi'an Institute of Earth Environment Innovation, Xi'an 710061, China
5 Interdisciplinary Research Center of Earth Science Frontier (IRCESF), Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
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Abstract  

There are numerous valley farmlands on the Chinese Loess Plateau (CLP), where suffers from low soil quality and high risk of soil salinization due to the shallow groundwater table and poor drainage system. Currently, research on the evolution processes and mechanisms of soil quality and salinization in these dammed-valley farmlands on the CLP is still inadequately understood. In this study, three kinds of dammed-valley farmlands in the hilly-gully areas of the northern CLP were selected, and the status of soil quality and the impact factors of soil salinization were examined. The dammed-valley farmlands include the new farmland created by the project of Gully Land Consolidation, the 60-a farmland created by sedimentation from check dam, and the 400-a farmland created by sedimentation from an ancient landslide-dammed lake. Results showed that (1) the newly created farmland had the lowest soil quality in terms of soil bulk density, porosity, soil organic carbon and total nitrogen among the three kinds of dammed-valley farmlands; (2) soil salinization occurred in the middle and upper reaches of the new and 60-a valley farmlands, whereas no soil salinization was found in the 400-a valley farmland; and (3) soil salinization and low soil nutrient were determined to be the two important factors that impacted the soil quality of the valley farmlands in the hilly-gully mountain areas of the CLP. We conclude that the dammed-valley farmlands on the CLP have a high risk of soil salinization due to the shallow groundwater table, alkalinity of the loessial soil and local landform feature, thus resulting in the low soil quality of the valley farmlands. Therefore, strengthening drainage and decreasing groundwater table are extremely important to improve the soil quality of the valley farmlands and guarantee the sustainable development of the valley agriculture on the CLP.



Key wordsdammed-valley farmland      soil quality      soil salinization      groundwater      Chinese Loess Plateau     
Received: 27 April 2021      Published: 10 August 2021
Corresponding Authors: JIN Zhao     E-mail: jinzhao@ieecas.cn
Cite this article:

CHEN Shumin, JIN Zhao, ZHANG Jing, YANG Siqi. Soil quality assessment in different dammed-valley farmlands in the hilly-gully mountain areas of the northern Loess Plateau, China. Journal of Arid Land, 2021, 13(8): 777-789.

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http://jal.xjegi.com/10.1007/s40333-021-0014-4     OR     http://jal.xjegi.com/Y2021/V13/I8/777

Fig. 1 Location of the three kinds of dammed-valley farmlands on the northern Loess Plateau in China (a). The Huangtuwa watershed: 400-a farmland was created by sedimentation from an ancient landslide-dammed lake in the valley (b). The Majiawan watershed: 60-a farmland was created by sedimentation from check dam in the valley (c) and the Gutun watershed: new farmland was created by the Gully Land Consolidation project in the valley (d).
Fig. 2 Distribution of sampling sites in the three kinds of dammed-valley farmlands. (a), new farmland in the Gutun watershed; (b), 60-a farmland in the Majiawan watershed; (c), 400-a farmland in the Huangtuwa watershed.
Fig. 3 Soil texture triangle chart of the three kinds of dammed-valley farmlands
Fig. 4 Vertical distributions of soil bulk density (BD) in the three kinds of dammed-valley farmlands. Bars indicate standard errors.
Fig. 5 Vertical distributions of soil porosity in the three kinds of dammed-valley farmlands. Bars indicate standard errors.
Fig. 6 Vertical distributions of soil organic carbon (SOC) in the three kinds of dammed-valley farmlands. Bars indicate standard errors.
Fig. 7 Vertical distributions of soil inorganic carbon (SIC) in the three kinds of dammed-valley farmlands. Bars indicate standard errors.
Fig. 8 Vertical distributions of soil total nitrogen (TN) in the three kinds of dammed-valley farmlands. Bars indicate standard errors.
Fig. 9 EC values at a depth of 0-20 cm in the three kinds of dammed-valley farmlands. (a), comparisons between different dammed-valley farmlands within the same locations of the valley; (b), comparisons between different locations of the valley within the same dammed-valley farmland. Different lowercase letters indicate significant differences among different farmlands or locations at P<0.05 level. Bars indicate standard errors.
Fig. 10 Soil pH values at a depth of 0-20 cm in the three kinds of dammed-valley farmlands. Different lowercase letters indicate significant differences among different farmlands at P<0.05 level. Circle indicates mean value, horizontal line in the box indicates median of the data and the bounding box corresponds to the 25th-75th percentiles. Bars indicate standard errors.
Fig. 11 Vertical distributions of soil water content in the three kinds of dammed-valley farmlands. Bars indicate standard errors.
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