Effects of Organic Mulch on Soil Moisture and Nutrients in Karst Area of Southwest China
Rui Li 1,2
Kai Huang 1,2
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School of Karst Science, Guizhou Normal University, Guiyang, Guizhou, China
State Engineering Technology Institute for Karst Desertification Control, Guiyang, Guizhou, China
Guizhou Provincial Monitoring Station of Soil and Water Conservation, Guiyang, China
Submission date: 2019-12-30
Final revision date: 2020-03-21
Acceptance date: 2020-03-23
Online publication date: 2020-06-18
Publication date: 2020-08-05
Corresponding author
Rui Li   

School of Karst Science, Guizhou Normal University, School of Karst Science, Guizhou Normal University, 550001, Guiyang, China
Pol. J. Environ. Stud. 2020;29(6):4161-4174
Based on the typical engineering water shortage and soil degradation of sloping farmland in the karst area of southwest China, this experiment is to explore the suitable organic mulch materials and application rate and to provide theoretical reference for the regional soil moisture conservation and fertility enhancement. The maize monoculture was set as control (CK), five straw mulch treatments (20%, 40%, 60%, 80%, 100%, SM1-SM5) and four biochar mulch treatments (25%, 50%, 75%, 100%, BM1-BM4), which were set according to mulch application rate from low to high, and alfalfa, chicory and ryegrass intercropping in maize were set as 3 living mulches (LM1-LM3), 13 treatments in total. Observation of soil moisture, total organic carbon (TOC), total nitrogen (TN), total phosphorus (TP) and total potassium (TK) in the plough layer were carried out in 2018. When straw mulch application rate reached SM5, the soil moisture reached the maximum, which was significantly higher than CK and SM1-SM3 (p<0.05), but not significantly higher than SM4 (p>0.05); biochar and living mulch did not significantly improve the moisture; the overall water conservation effect of straw mulch was better than that of biochar and living mulch. Soil TOC, TN and TP with high straw and biochar mulch application rate was significantly higher than CK, however, the increase of straw and biochar mulch had no significant effect on TK; TN of LM1 was significantly higher than CK, LM2 and LM3 (p<0.05). Among the three types of organic mulches, the TOC was high under straw and biochar mulch, and the TOC, TN and TP under biochar mulch were the largest, which was significantly higher than that of LM (p<0.05). The results indicated that straw mulch played an important role in water conservation and fertility enhancement, and about 6 Mg ha-1 of straw mulch could be an appropriate reference mulch application rate for karst areas in Southwest China.
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