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Water 2018, 10(6), 755; https://doi.org/10.3390/w10060755

Single Session of Chiseling Tillage for Soil and Vegetation Restoration in Severely Degraded Shrublands

1
Dead Sea and Arava Science Center, Yotvata 88820, Israel
2
Israel Nature and Parks Authority, Southern District, Beer Sheva 84215, Israel
3
Dead Sea and Arava Science Center, Microbial Metagenomics Division, Masada 86900, Israel
4
Department of Geography and Environmental Development, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer Sheva 84105, Israel
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 10 May 2018 / Revised: 4 June 2018 / Accepted: 7 June 2018 / Published: 9 June 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecohydrology of Woodlands and Savannas)
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Abstract

While tillage of agricultural lands has been used extensively, its utilization for restoring degraded semi-natural lands is rare. This study was conducted in the arid southern Israel in a shrubland which has faced severe degradation processes over time, including soil erosion and compaction, and negation of vegetation recovery. In 2014, research plots were established for assessing the impact of a single chiseling session on the ecosystem’s restoration capacity. The study treatments included deep chiseling (35 cm), shallow chiseling (20 cm), and control (no-tillage). Data on spontaneously-established vegetation was collected one, two, and three years after the plots’ establishment, and soil data was collected once—three years after the plots’ establishment. Assessments of the vegetation parameters revealed a general similarity between the two chiseling treatments, which were generally better than those of the no-till plots. The soil properties revealed generally greater soil quality under the two chiseling treatments than that under the control plots, and a somewhat better soil quality for the deep chiseling than that for the shallow chiseling. Overall, results of this study show that in severely degraded lands, self-restoration processes are hindered, negating the effectiveness of passive restoration practices, and necessitating active intervention practices to stimulate restoration processes. View Full-Text
Keywords: available water capacity; central Negev; microbial biomass and activity; microtopography and geodiversity; plant cover; soil aeration; soil moisture content; soil roughness; organic carbon; species richness and diversity available water capacity; central Negev; microbial biomass and activity; microtopography and geodiversity; plant cover; soil aeration; soil moisture content; soil roughness; organic carbon; species richness and diversity
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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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Stavi, I.; Siegal, Z.; Drori, B.; Hyams, E.; Shafir, A.; Kamiski, Y.; Al-Ashhab, A.; Dorman, M.; Tsoar, A. Single Session of Chiseling Tillage for Soil and Vegetation Restoration in Severely Degraded Shrublands. Water 2018, 10, 755.

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