ORIGINAL RESEARCH
How Long-Term Chemical Fertilization of Sloping Cropland Enhances Yield and Fertility without Compromising Coil Structure
Mingxiang Xu1, Qiang Li2, Matthew Bowker3
 
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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
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ABSTRACT
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.
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ISSN:1230-1485