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Sustainability 2018, 10(12), 4757; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10124757

Changes in Soil Organic Carbon and Total Nitrogen at a Small Watershed Scale as the Result of Land Use Conversion on the Loess Plateau

1,2 and 1,*
1
State Key Laboratory of Soil Erosion and Dryland Farming on Loess Plateau, Northwest A&F University, Yangling 712100, Shaanxi, China
2
School of Geography and Tourism, Shaanxi Normal University, Xi’an 710119, Shaanxi, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 8 October 2018 / Revised: 5 December 2018 / Accepted: 9 December 2018 / Published: 13 December 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil Erosion and the Sustainable Management of the Landscape)
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Abstract

Soil organic carbon (SOC) and total nitrogen (total N) are important soil components for agricultural production. Soil quality is related to the total amount of SOC and total N sequestered in the soil. Land use plays a major role in the distribution and amount of SOC and total N. This study analyses the amount of SOC and total N under various land cover types in 1987, 2005 and 2010, and evaluated their storage in land use conversions in a comprehensively managed watershed on the Loess Plateau, China. Results show that concentrations of SOC and total N in shrub land and natural grassland areas were significantly higher than for other land uses (farmland, orchard, abandoned farmland, manmade grassland) while cropland had the lowest concentration. Storage of SOC and total N increased along the revegetation chronosequence. As the storage of SOC in 2005 and 2010, they were 3461.86 × 108 and 4504.04 × 108 g respectively. Soil organic carbon storage were enhanced one third just during 5 years. The effects of land use on SOC and total N were the most significant in the upper soil layers. The correlation between SOC, total N, and the C/N ratio indicated that the best combination of land uses were natural grassland and shrub land. They efficiently influenced the distribution and storage of SOC and total N, and benefited vegetation restoration. View Full-Text
Keywords: vegetation restoration; land use conversion; soil organic carbon; total nitrogen; soil carbon storage; C/N ratio vegetation restoration; land use conversion; soil organic carbon; total nitrogen; soil carbon storage; C/N ratio
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Xue, Z.; An, S. Changes in Soil Organic Carbon and Total Nitrogen at a Small Watershed Scale as the Result of Land Use Conversion on the Loess Plateau. Sustainability 2018, 10, 4757.

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