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Forests 2016, 7(2), 31; doi:10.3390/f7020031

Spatial Variations of Soil Moisture under Caragana korshinskii Kom. from Different Precipitation Zones: Field Based Analysis in the Loess Plateau, China

1
State Key Laboratory of Earth Surface Processes and Resource Ecology, College of Resources Science & Technology, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
2
Department of Earth Sciences, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, Indianapolis 46202, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Ge Sun, James M. Vose and Eric J. Jokela
Received: 29 September 2015 / Revised: 10 January 2016 / Accepted: 14 January 2016 / Published: 29 January 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Management and Water Resources in the Anthropocene)
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Abstract

Soil moisture scarcity has become the major limiting factor of vegetation restoration in the Loess Plateau of China. The aim of this study is: (i) to compare the spatial distribution of deep (up to 5 m) soil moisture content (SMC) beneath the introduced shrub Caragana korshinskii Kom. under different precipitation zones in the Loess Plateau and (ii) to investigate the impacts of environmental factors on soil moisture variability. Soil samples were taken under C. korshinskii from three precipitation zones (Semiarid-350, Semiarid-410, Semiarid-470). We found that the highest soil moisture value was in the 0–0.1 m layer with a large coefficient of variation. The soil water storage under different precipitation zones increased following the increase of precipitation (i.e., Semiarid-350 < Semiarid-410 < Semiarid-470), although the degree of SMC variation was different for different precipitation zones. The SMC in the Semiarid-350 zone initially increased with soil depth, and then decreased until it reached the depth of 2.8-m. The SMC in the Semiarid-410 zone showed a decreasing trend from the top soil to 4.2-m depth. The SMC in the Semiarid-470 zone firstly decreased with soil depth, increased, and then decreased until it reached 4.6-m depth. All SMC values then became relatively constant after reaching the 2.8-m, 4.2-m, and 4.6-m depths for Semiarid-350, Semiarid-410, and Semiarid-470, respectively. The low but similar SMC values at the stable layers across the precipitation gradient indicate widespread soil desiccation in this region. Our results suggested that water deficit occurred in all of the three precipitation zones with precipitation, latitude, field capacity, and bulk density as the main environmental variables affecting soil moisture. Considering the correlations between precipitation, SMC and vegetation, appropriate planting density and species selection should be taken into account for introduced vegetation management. View Full-Text
Keywords: soil moisture; precipitation zones; spatial distribution; Caragana korshinskii Kom.; redundancy analysis; Loess Plateau; China soil moisture; precipitation zones; spatial distribution; Caragana korshinskii Kom.; redundancy analysis; Loess Plateau; China
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Liu, Y.; Zhao, W.; Wang, L.; Zhang, X.; Daryanto, S.; Fang, X. Spatial Variations of Soil Moisture under Caragana korshinskii Kom. from Different Precipitation Zones: Field Based Analysis in the Loess Plateau, China. Forests 2016, 7, 31.

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