Please wait a minute...
Journal of Arid Land  2013, Vol. 5 Issue (1): 42-50    DOI: 10.1007/s40333-013-0140-8
Research Articles     
Soil exchangeable base cations along a chronosequence of Caragana microphylla plantation in a semi-arid sandy land, China
YuGe ZHANG1,2, ZhuWen XU2, DeMing JIANG2, Yong JIANG2
1 College of Biological and Environmental Engineering, Shenyang University, Shenyang 110044, China;
2 State Key Laboratory of Forest and Soil Ecology, Institute of Applied Ecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shenyang 110164, China
Download:   PDF(245KB)
Export: BibTeX | EndNote (RIS)      

Abstract  As a pioneer leguminous shrub species for vegetation re-establishment, Caragana microphylla is widely distributed in the semi-fixed and fixed sandy lands of the Horqin region, North China. C. microphylla planta-tions modify organic carbon (SOC), nitrogen (N) and phosphorus dynamics, bulk density and water-holding capacity, and biological activities in soils, but little is known with regard to soil exchange properties. Variation in soil ex-changeable base cations was examined under C. microphylla plantations with an age sequence of 0, 5, 10, and 22 years in the Horqin Sandy Land, and at the depth of 0–10, 10–20, and 20–30 cm, respectively. C. microphylla has been planted on the non-vegetated sand dunes with similar physical-chemical soil properties. The results showed that exchangeable calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg), and potassium (K), and cation exchange capacity (CEC) were significantly increased, and Ca saturation tended to decrease, while Mg and K saturations were increased with the plantation years. No difference was observed for exchangeable sodium (Na) neither with plantation years nor at soil depths. Of all the base cations and soil layers, exchangeable K at the depth of 0–10 cm accumulated most quickly, and it increased by 1.76, 3.16, and 4.25 times, respectively after C. microphylla was planted for 5, 10, and 22 years. Exchangeable Ca, Mg, and K, and CEC were significantly (P<0.001) and positively correlated with SOC, total N, pH, and electrical conductivity (EC). Soil pH and SOC are regarded as the main factors influencing the variation in ex-changeable cations, and the preferential absorption of cations by plants and different leaching rates of base cations that modify cation saturations under C. microphylla plantation. It is concluded that as a nitrogen-fixation species, C. microphylla plantation is beneficial to increasing exchangeable base cations and CEC in soils, and therefore can improve soil fertility and create favorable microenvironments for plants and creatures in the semi-arid sandy land ecosystems.

Key wordsSalawusu River Valley      Pleniglacial      paleoclimatic indices      CaCO3      grain-size     
Received: 15 April 2012      Published: 06 March 2013

The National Key Basic Research Program of China (2011CB403204) and the Natural Science Foundation of China (31000200).

Corresponding Authors: Yong JIANG     E-mail:
Cite this article:

YuGe ZHANG, ZhuWen XU, DeMing JIANG, Yong JIANG. Soil exchangeable base cations along a chronosequence of Caragana microphylla plantation in a semi-arid sandy land, China. Journal of Arid Land, 2013, 5(1): 42-50.

URL:     OR

Bortoluzzi E C, Tessier D, Rheinheimer D S, et al. 2006. The cation exchange capacity of a sandy soil in southern Brazil: an estimation of permanent and pH-dependent charges. European Journal of Soil Science, 57(3): 356–364.

Cao C Y, Jiang D M, Teng X H, et al. 2008. Soil chemical and microbi-ological properties along a chronosequence of Caragana microphylla Lam. plantations in the Horqin Sandy Land of Northeast China. Applied Soil Ecology, 40(1): 78–85.

Cao C Y, Jiang S Y, Ying Z, et al. 2011. Spatial variability of soil nutrients and microbiological properties after the establishment of leguminous shrub Caragana microphylla Lam. plantation on sand dune in the Horqin Sandy Land of Northeast China. Ecological Engineering, 37(10): 1467–1475.

CRGCST (Cooperative Research Group on Chinese Soil Taxonomy). 2001. Chinese Soil Taxonomy. Beijing: Science Press, 72–180.

FAO. 1988. FAO-UNESCO Soil Maps of the World, Revised Legend. World Soil Resources Reports 60. Rome: FAO.

Favre F, Tessier D, Abdelmoula M, et al. 2002. Iron reduction and changes in cation exchange capacity in intermittently waterlogged soil. European Journal of Soil Science, 53(2): 175–183.

Foth H D. 1990. Soil Chemistry. In: Foth H D. Fundamentals of Soil Science (8th ed.). New York: John Wiley and Sons, 164–185.

Gillman G P. 1981. Effects of pH and ionic strength on the cation-exchange capacity of soils with variable charge. Australian Journal of Soil Research, 19(1): 93–96.

Gogo S, Pearce D M E. 2009. Carbon, cations and CEC: interactions and effects on microbial activity in peat. Geoderma, 153(1–2): 76–86.

Guibert H, Fallavier P, Romero J J. 1999. Carbon content in soil particle size and consequence on cation exchange capacity of alfisols. Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis, 30(17–18): 2521–2537.

Havlin J H, Tisdale S L, Nelson W L, et al. 2004. Soil Fertility and Fertilizers: An Introduction to Nutrient Management (7th ed.). Singapore: Prentice Hall.

Hepper E N, Buschiazzo D E, Hevia G G, et al. 2006. Clay mineralogy, cation exchange capacity and specific surface area of loess soils with different volcanic ash contents. Geoderma, 135(2): 216–223.

Jiang D M, Li Q, Liu F M, et al. 2007. Vertical distribution of soil nematodes in an age sequence of Caragana microphylla plantations in the Horqin Sandy Land, Northeast China. Ecological Research, 22(1): 49–56.

Jiang Y, Zhang Y G, Liang W J, et al. 2005. Pedogenic and anthropo-genic influence on calcium and magnesium behaviors in Stagnic Anthrosols. Pedosphere, 15(3): 341–346.

Jiang Y, Zhang Y G, Zhou D, et al. 2009. Profile distribution of micronutrients in an aquic brown soil as affected by land use. Plant Soil and Environment, 55(11): 468–476.

Jobbàgy E G, Jackson R B. 2001. The distribution of soil nutrients with depth: global patterns and the imprint of plants. Biogeochemistry, 53(1): 51–77.

Jobbàgy E G, Jackson R B. 2004. The uplift of soil nutrients by plants: biogeochemical consequences across scales. Ecology, 85(9): 2380–2389.

Katou H. 2002. A pH-dependence implicit formulation of cation- and anion-exchange capacities of variable-charge soils. Soil Science Society of America Journal, 66(4): 1218–1224.

Kondo J, Hirobe M, Yamada Y, et al. 2012. Effects of Caragana microphylla patch and its canopy size on “islands of fertility” in a Mongolian grassland ecosystem. Landscape and Ecological Engineering, 8(1): 1–8.

Leinweber P, Reuter G, Brozio K. 1993. Cation exchange capacities of organo-mineral particle-size fractions in soils from long-term ex-periments. Journal of Soil Science, 44(1): 111–119.

Lucas R W, Klaminder J, Futter M N, et al. 2011. A meta-analysis of the effects of nitrogen additions on base cations: implications for plants, soils, and streams. Forest Ecology and Management, 262: 95–104.

Ma C C, Gao Y B, Guo H Y, et al. 2004. Photosynthesis, transpiration, and water use efficiency of Caragana microphylla, C. intermedia, and C. korshinskii. Photosysthetica, 42(1): 65–70.

Marschner P, Rengel Z. 2007. Nutrient Cycling in Terrestrial Ecosystems. Berlin: Springer-Verlag Heidelberg.

Oorts K, Vanlauwe B, Merckx R. 2003. Cation exchange capacities of soil organic matter fractions in a Ferric Lixisol with different organic matter inputs. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 100(2–3): 161–171.

Parfitt R L, Giltrap D J, Whitton J S. 1995. Contribution of organic matter and clay-minerals to the cation exchange capacity of soils. Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis, 26(9–10): 1343–1355.

Perroni-Ventura Y, Montan C, Garcia-Oliva F. 2010. Carbon-nitrogen interactions in fertility island soil from a tropical semi-arid ecosys-tem. Functional Ecology, 24(1): 233–242.

Renault P, Cazevieille P, Verdier J, et al. 2009. Variations in the cation exchange capacity of a ferralsol supplied with vinasse, under changing aeration conditions: comparison between CEC measuring methods. Geoderma, 154(1–2): 101–110.

Su Y Z, Zhao H L. 2003. Soil properties and plant species in an age sequence of Caragana microphylla plantations in the Horqin Sandy Land, North China. Ecological Engineering, 20(3): 223–235.

Su Y Z, Zhang T H, Li Y L, et al. 2005. Changes in soil properties after establishment of Artemisia halodendron and Caragana microphylla on shifting sand dunes in semiarid Horqin Sandy Land, Northern China. Environmental Management, 36(2): 272–281.

Troeh F R, Hompson L M. 1993. Soils and Soil Fertility. New York: Oxford University Press.

Turpault M P, Bonnaud P, Fichter J, et al. 1996. Distribution of cation exchange capacity between organic matter and mineral fractions in acid forest soils (Vosges mountains, France). European Journal of Soil Science, 47(4): 545–556.

van Erp P J, Houba V J G, van Beusichem M L. 2001. Actual cation exchange capacity of agricultural soils and its relationship with pH and content of organic carbon and clay. Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis, 32(1–2): 19–31.

Wang S K, Zhao X Y, Qu H, et al. 2010. Variation in soil water content to rainfall under Caragana microphylla shrub in Horqin Sandy Land. Journal of Arid Land, 2(3): 174–179.

Yue G Y, Zhao H L, Zhang T H, et al. 2008. Evaluation of water use of Caragana microphylla with the stem heat-balance method in Horqin Sandy Land, Inner Mongolia, China. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, 148(11): 1668–1678.

Zhao Y Z. 2005. The distribution pattern and ecological adaptation of Caragana microphylla, C. davazamcii and C. korshinskii. Acta Ecologica Sinica, 25(12): 3411–3414.

[1] Pingping XUE, Xuelai ZHAO, Yubao GAO, Xingdong HE. Phenotypic plasticity of Artemisia ordosica seedlings in response to different levels of calcium carbonate in soil[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2019, 11(1): 58-65.
[2] Fan YANG, Laiming HUANG, Renmin YANG, Fei YANG, Decheng LI, Yuguo ZHAO, Jinling YANG, Feng LIU, Ganlin ZHANG. Vertical distribution and storage of soil organic and inorganic carbon in a typical inland river basin, Northwest China[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2018, 10(2): 183-201.
[3] Xiang ZHANG, Zhanbin LI, Peng LI, Shanshan TANG, Tian WANG, Hui ZHANG. Influences of sand cover on erosion processes of loess slopes based on rainfall simulation experiments[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2018, 10(1): 39-52.
[4] LI Jiyan, DONG Zhibao, ZHANG Zhengcai, QIAN Guangqiang, LUO Wanyin, LU Junfeng. Grain-size characteristics of linear dunes on the northern margin of Qarhan Salt Lake, northwestern China[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2015, 7(4): 438-449.
[5] FengNian WANG, BaoSheng LI, JiangLong WANG, XiaoHao WEN, DongFeng NIU, ZhiWen LI, YueJun SI, YiHua GUO, ShuHuan DU. Pleniglacial millennium-scale climate variations in northern China based on records from the Salawusu River Valley[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2012, 4(3): 231-240.