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Open AccessArticle

Relationships between Soil Crust Development and Soil Properties in the Desert Region of North China

1
College of Water Resources and Civil Engineering, China Agricultural University, Beijing 100083, China
2
Advanced Materials Institute, Shandong Academy of Sciences, Jinan 250014, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Mary J. Thornbush
Sustainability 2017, 9(5), 725; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9050725
Received: 2 March 2017 / Revised: 19 April 2017 / Accepted: 27 April 2017 / Published: 3 May 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Geography and Environmental Sustainability)
This study investigated the effects of soil crust development on the underlying soil properties. The field sampling work was conducted in June 2016 in the Hobq Desert in Inner Mongolia, North China. Soil crust samples and 0–6, 6–12, 12–18, 18–24, and 24–30 cm deep underlying soil samples were taken from five representative areas of different soil crust development stages. All samples were analyzed for physicochemical properties, including water content, bulk density, aggregate content, organic matter content, enzyme activities, and microbial biomass carbon and nitrogen. The results showed that the thickness, water content, macro-aggregate (>250 μm) content, organic matter content, microbial biomass, and enzyme activities of the soil crusts gradually increased along the soil crust development gradient, while the bulk density of the soil crusts decreased. Meanwhile, the physicochemical and biological properties of the soils below the algal and moss crusts were significantly ameliorated when compared with the physical crust. Moreover, the amelioration effects were significant in the upper horizons (approx. 0–12 cm deep) and diminished quickly in the deeper soil layers. View Full-Text
Keywords: crust type; soil depth; physicochemical properties; enzyme; microbial biomass carbon and nitrogen crust type; soil depth; physicochemical properties; enzyme; microbial biomass carbon and nitrogen
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MDPI and ACS Style

Niu, J.; Yang, K.; Tang, Z.; Wang, Y. Relationships between Soil Crust Development and Soil Properties in the Desert Region of North China. Sustainability 2017, 9, 725.

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