How Long-Term Chemical Fertilization of Sloping Cropland Enhances Yield and Fertility without Compromising Coil Structure
Mingxiang Xu1, Qiang Li2, Matthew Bowker3
More details
Hide details
1State Key Laboratory of Soil Erosion and Dry Land Farming, Northwest A & F University,
26 Xinong RD,Yangling, 712100, Shaanxi, China
2College of life science, Yulin University, 4 Chongwen RD, Yulin, Shaanxi 719000, China
3School of Forestry, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, 86011, AZ, USA
Online publish date: 2017-07-12
Publish date: 2017-07-25
Submission date: 2017-01-06
Final revision date: 2017-02-14
Acceptance date: 2017-02-16
Pol. J. Environ. Stud. 2017;26(4):1797–1807
We studied the effects of the long-term (17 years) application of different chemical fertilizer regimes on soil N and its inorganic fractions in relation to the soil physical properties in a sloping cropland in the hilly Loess Plateau. Seven treatments comprised of two factors were arranged within a randomized complete block design. As expected, crop yield increased 2-4-fold, but soil structure did not degrade. Under long-term fertilization, the portion of the small aggregates (<2 mm) and sand content were significantly decreased while the large aggregates (>2 mm) and the silt content increased by 276% and 7.4%, respectively, as compared with those in areas without fertilization. Moreover, the various continuous chemical fertilization treatments increased SOC content by 12.9% and total N by 12.4%, on average, compared with unfertilized plots. The SOC, total N, and shoot C, shoot N had close relationships with the large aggregates (>2 mm) and the clay content. The results suggest that, in this setting, the long-term addition of both N and P may sustain soil quality of an infertile sloping cropland in this region, compared to agriculture without fertilizer or applications of N alone.