Base cations and micronutrients in soil aggregates as affected by enhanced nitrogen and water inputs in a semi-arid steppe grassland

Ruzhen Wang, Jennifer A.J. Dungait, Heather L. Buss, Shan Yang, Yuge Zhang, Zhuwen Xu, Yong Jiang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

26 Citations (Scopus)
290 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

The intensification of grassland management by nitrogen (N) fertilization and irrigation may threaten the future integrity of fragile semi-arid steppe ecosystems by affecting the concentrations of base cation and micronutrient in soils. We extracted base cations of exchangeable calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg), potassium (K), and sodium (Na) and extractable micronutrients of iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), copper (Cu), and zinc (Zn) from three soil aggregate sizes classes (microaggregates, < 0.25 mm; small macroaggregates, 0.25–2 mm; large macroaggregates, > 2 mm) from a 9-year N and water field manipulation study. There were significantly more base cations (but not micronutrients) in microaggregates compared to macroaggregates which was related to greater soil organic matter and clay contents. Nitrogen addition significantly decreased exchangeable Ca by up to 33% in large and small macroaggregates and exchangeable Mg by up to 27% in three aggregates but significantly increased extractable Fe, Mn and Cu concentrations (by up to 262%, 150%, and 55%, respectively) in all aggregate size classes. However, water addition only increased exchangeable Na, while available Fe and Mn were decreased by water addition when averaging across all N treatments and aggregate classes. The loss of exchangeable Ca and Mg under N addition and extractable Fe and Mn in soil aggregates under water addition might potentially constrain the productivity of this semi-arid grassland ecosystem.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)564-572
Number of pages9
JournalScience of The Total Environment
Volume575
Early online date7 Sep 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017

Structured keywords

  • Cabot Institute

Keywords

  • Calcium
  • Copper
  • Irrigation
  • Magnesium
  • Manganese
  • Nitrogen deposition

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