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Effects of Afforestation on Soil Bulk Density and pH in the Loess Plateau, China

College of Geography and Environmental Science, Northwest Normal University, Lanzhou 730070, China
Department of Bioresource Engineering, Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, McGill University, Sainte Anne de Bellevue, QC H9X 3V9, Canada
School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences, Centre for Sustainable Agricultural Systems & Applied Climate Sciences, University of Southern Queensland, Springfield Central, QLD 4300, Australia
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2018, 10(12), 1710;
Received: 28 October 2018 / Revised: 14 November 2018 / Accepted: 15 November 2018 / Published: 23 November 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil and Water Conservation in Agricultural and Forestry Systems)
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Sustainable land management requires a clear understanding of the changes in soil quality. In exploring whether afforestation has the potential to improve the soil quality in China’s Loess Plateau, soil bulk density ( ρ s ) and pH were compared under five treatments: three forested treatments (16-and 40-year-old apricot stands, and 40-year-old poplar stands), and individual abandoned and cultivated treatments, serving as the controls. Bulk density across the 0–1.0 m soil profile under the 16-year-old apricot treatment (1.12 Mg m−3) and 40-year-old poplar treatment (1.16 Mg m−3) were significantly smaller than their counterparts under the cultivated (1.20 Mg m−3) and abandoned treatments (1.23 Mg m−3). Soil pH of the cultivated treatment (8.46) was significantly lower than that of the abandoned treatment (8.51) or than that of any forested treatment. The ρ s and pH were both affected by stand age, with the ρ s and pH of the 40-year-old apricot treatment being 0.10 Mg m−3 and 0.05 units greater, respectively, than those of the 16-year-old apricot treatment. Treatment and soil depth appeared to interact to influence the ρ s , but this same interaction did not influence the soil pH. This study suggested that afforestation species and stand age should be taken into consideration to harvest maximum benefits from the afforestation efforts. View Full-Text
Keywords: soil erosion; soil quality; stand type; stand age; tree plantation soil erosion; soil quality; stand type; stand age; tree plantation

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Zhang, X.; Adamowski, J.F.; Deo, R.C.; Xu, X.; Zhu, G.; Cao, J. Effects of Afforestation on Soil Bulk Density and pH in the Loess Plateau, China. Water 2018, 10, 1710.

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