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  • 1
    Language: English
    In: Plant and Soil, 2011, Vol.340(1), pp.59-72
    Description: Over the last few decades, due to increase in grazing intensity, animal trampling has led to soil structure deterioration in Inner Mongolia, China. We investigated two different steppe ecosystems: Leymus chinensis (LCh, characterized by relatively higher precipitation) and Stipa grandis (SG) and two grazing intensities: ungrazed since 1979 (UG79) and grazed (continuously grazed, CG, at the Stipa grandis site and winter grazed, WG, at Leymus chinensis ). Soil mechanical and hydraulic properties of semiarid steppe soils from each site and treatment were determined for soil aggregates and disturbed and bulk soil samples from different depths (4–8, 18–22, 30–34 and 56–60 cm for disturbed and bulk samples and 0–15 cm for the aggregates). Grazing causes a significant increase in tensile strength of aggregates and in the precompression stress of the bulk soil as well as a decrease in air and saturated hydraulic conductivity, irrespective of the vegetation type. Furthermore, exclusion from grazing led to more pronounced recovery of soil strength and pore continuity and hydraulic conductivity at the LCh site but it also depended on the moisture conditions of the sites. Under wetter conditions as well as after repeated freezing and thawing the soil strength declined.
    Keywords: Grazing ; Precompression stress ; Aggregate tensile strength ; Repellency index ; Steppe
    ISSN: 0032-079X
    E-ISSN: 1573-5036
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  • 2
    Language: English
    In: Plant and Soil, 2011, Vol.340(1), pp.89-102
    Description: Long-term monitoring of soil properties reveals site-specific ecosystem shifts in soil processes due to land use and climate changes. This paper aims to study the effects of physical landscape changes associated with grazing on soil thermal and moisture regime at the plot scale in a semiarid Leymus chinensis steppe of Inner Mongolia, China. The investigated sites were subjected to three grazing intensities: ungrazed since 1979 (UG79), moderately grazed only in winter time (WG), and heavily grazed (HG). At each plot, we recorded the soil moisture and temperature over a 6-year period that spanned between June 2004 and September 2009 and experienced a large range in precipitation (162 to 362 mm). Based on these monitoring data, we divided a year into four hydric periods: (1) growing period (late April to August); (2) transitional period from summer to winter (September–October); (3) winter time (November–first March); and (4) transitional period from winter to summer (March–April). In general, soil moisture in grazed sites was lower than in the ungrazed site, particularly for the 30–50 cm soil layer. Seasonal fluctuation of the soil moisture, due to variable precipitation and atmospheric demands, was most significant in the topsoil (0–10 cm) and was less pronounced in deeper soil. Regardless of hydric seasons, soil moisture was significantly influenced by grazing intensity, whereas soil temperature was slightly influenced. With increasing grazing intensity, soil water storage decreased remarkably. Consequently, grazing reduced plant available water and therefore grassland productivity, which are linked to a great extent with the trampling-induced soil structure change and soil moisture regime.
    Keywords: Long-term monitoring ; Grazing intensity ; Soil moisture ; Soil temperature ; Plant available water ; Semiarid steppe
    ISSN: 0032-079X
    E-ISSN: 1573-5036
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  • 3
    Language: English
    In: Soil Biology and Biochemistry, November 2014, Vol.78, pp.189-194
    Description: Modelling carbon mineralisation in natural soils is a major topic in soil and climate research. Current models need to be improved to include soil structure as an influencing factor to better predict C fluxes between pedosphere and atmosphere and to estimate carbon sequestration potentials. Geometry-based mechanistic modelling approaches have recently been developed to systematically study the effect of soil structure on carbon decomposition. Such models require spatially explicit input parameters describing the architecture of the pore space and the heterogeneous distribution of microbes and organic matter as decomposable substrate. The latter is very difficult to determine , resulting in increased uncertainty in the models. To obtain more realistic input data, we have developed a novel approach to locate soil organic matter (SOM) in undisturbed aggregates of soil using a combination of synchrotron-based X-ray microtomography and osmium as a staining agent for SOM. Here, we present the first results using 5 mm sized soil aggregate samples with contrasting C-contents in which we obtained maps of organic matter distributions in relation to the pore networks at the aggregate scale.
    Keywords: Soil Organic Matter ; Soil Structure ; Carbon Sequestration ; Synchrotron Microtomography ; Staining ; Agriculture ; Chemistry
    ISSN: 0038-0717
    E-ISSN: 1879-3428
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  • 4
    Language: English
    In: Journal of Hydrology, February 2018, Vol.557, pp.631-642
    Description: Europe has experienced a series of major floods in the past years which suggests that flood magnitudes may have increased. Land degradation due to soil compaction from crop farming or grazing intensification is one of the potential drivers of this increase. A literature review suggests that most of the experimental evidence was generated at plot and hillslope scales. At larger scales, most studies are based on models. There are three ways in which soil compaction affects floods at the catchment scale: (i) through an increase in the area affected by soil compaction; (ii) by exacerbating the effects of changes in rainfall, especially for highly degraded soils; and (iii) when soil compaction coincides with soils characterized by a fine texture and a low infiltration capacity. We suggest that future research should focus on better synthesising past research on soil compaction and runoff, tailored field experiments to obtain a mechanistic understanding of the coupled mechanical and hydraulic processes, new mapping methods of soil compaction that combine mechanical and remote sensing approaches, and an effort to bridge all disciplines relevant to soil compaction effects on floods.
    Keywords: Soil Compaction ; Floods ; Land Use Changes ; Soil Hydrology ; Upscaling Flow Processes ; Geography
    ISSN: 0022-1694
    E-ISSN: 1879-2707
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  • 5
    Language: English
    In: Plant and Soil, 2010, Vol.328(1), pp.495-505
    Description: Productivity of semiarid grasslands is primarily limited by seasonal rainfall amount and becomes increasingly limited by nutrient availability under wet conditions. Interactive effects of water and N availability on grassland productivity and parameters related to water use were studied on a grassland site in Inner Mongolia, China, in a 2-factorial experiment with two levels of water (rainfed: 158 mm; irrigated: 839 (N0) and 972 (N1) mm) and N supply (0 or 180 kg N ha −1 ). RUE was calculated from ANPP and cumulative water supply. Bare soil evaporation (E) was calculated from climatic data and leaf area dynamics, and percolation (D) and transpiration (T) were estimated with HYDRUS-1D. Water-use efficiency (WUE, ANPP / (T + D)) and transpiration efficiency (TE, ANPP / T) were calculated. Resource availability had pronounced effects on the water-use efficiency of semiarid grassland. RUE, WUE, and TE all decreased under irrigated compared to rainfed conditions and were significantly increased with N fertilizer application at both levels of water supply. While the irrigation effect on parameters of water-use efficiency were accordingly reflected in stable carbon isotope signatures, N supply resulted in significantly less negative δ 13 C-values under rainfed but not irrigated conditions. It is concluded, that spatial or temporal gradients in resource availability have pronounced effects on the water-use efficiency of semiarid grassland. The decrease of water use-efficiency under high water supply was related to differences in TE and not to a relative increase of unproductive water loss. Carbon isotope discrimination was highly correlated with WUE and TE, but can be a poor predictor of RUE.
    Keywords: Carbon isotope discrimination ; Bare soil evaporation ; Rain-use efficiency ; Transpiration efficiency
    ISSN: 0032-079X
    E-ISSN: 1573-5036
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  • 6
    Language: English
    In: Journal of Environmental Management, 01 July 2017, Vol.196, pp.633-643
    Description: Water balance is an important tool to evaluate water deficit or excess in crop systems. However, few studies have evaluated the water balance of vegetation grown on the residues from potash mining because the high sodium chloride levels of the residues hinder agricultural development. Therefore, this study aims to measure the water balance components in eight non-weighing lysimeters installed on a potash tailings pile in Heringen (Werra), Germany. These lysimeters were filled with different mixtures of household waste incineration slags and coal combustion residues, resulting in 4 different substrates with two repetitions. Manual seeding was performed using 65% perennial ryegrass ( L.), 25% red fescue ( and 10% Kentucky bluegrass ( L.). Environmental conditions were monitored using an automatic weather station; ground-level and 1-m-high rain gauges. Precipitation and drainage were recorded weekly following the initial saturation of the lysimeters. Water balance components were determined for two hydrological years based on the expression: ET (mm) = P – D, where ET = evapotranspiration, P = precipitation and D = drainage. In addition, evapotranspiration was studied using the standard FAO Penman-Monteith equation and Haude's method. The lysimeter water balance measured in 2014 revealed an actual evapotranspiration rate of 66.4% for substrate 1, 66.9% for substrate 2, 65.1% for substrate 3 and 64.1% for substrate 4. In 2015, evapotranspiration ranged from 65.7% for substrate 4 to 70.2% for substrate 1. We observed that the FAO Penman-Monteith and Haude's evapotranspiration models generally overestimated the water use of the green coverage by 67% and 23%, respectively. Our study suggests that an evapotranspiration cover for potash tailings piles may decrease brine drainage from these piles and reduce soil and water contamination.
    Keywords: Evapotranspiration ; Perennial Grass ; Drainage ; Potash Mining ; Rain Gauges ; Crop Coefficient ; Environmental Sciences ; Economics
    ISSN: 0301-4797
    E-ISSN: 1095-8630
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  • 7
    Language: English
    In: Soil Biology and Biochemistry, December 2018, Vol.127, pp.156-167
    Description: Soil membrane zymography enables 2D mapping of enzyme activities on the surface of soil samples. The method is based on diffusion of components of enzymatically-mediated reactions to/from membrane, and, thus, reflects the distribution of enzyme activities at the intact soil surface. Zymography has been already successfully implemented in numerous soil ecology applications. Here we identify two methodological aspects for further improvement and expansion of the method at micro and macro scales: first, accounting for the area of contact between the soil surface and the zymography membranes and, second, accounting for diffusion effects during the zymography procedure. We tested three methods, namely, laser-scanning, staining with a fluorescent product (e.g. MUF: 4-methylumbelliferone), and X-ray computed micro-tomography, for assessing the area of the soil surface in contact with the membranes. We quantified diffusion of MUF, enzymes and substrate between the substrate-saturated membrane and soil as well as diffusion processes during membrane zymography via HP2 software. Diffusion of the substrate from the membrane and of the MUF-product to the membrane was detected, while there were no clear evidence of enzyme diffusion to/in the membrane. According to the model simulations, the enzyme activities detected via 2D zymography probably represent only a small portion, about 20%, of the actual reactions within the soil volume that is in both direct contact and in hydrological contact with zymography membranes. This is a result of omnidirectional diffusion of reaction products. The membrane contact with the soil surface estimated by three methods ranged from 3.4 to 36.5% further signifying that only a fraction of enzymes activity is detectable in a course of 2D soil zymography.
    Keywords: In Situ 2d Zymography ; Soil Enzyme Activity ; Microbial Hotspot'S Localization ; Diffusion Processes ; Agriculture ; Chemistry
    ISSN: 0038-0717
    E-ISSN: 1879-3428
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  • 8
    Language: English
    In: Plant and Soil, 2011, Vol.340(1), pp.35-58
    Description: Semiarid steppe ecosystems account for large terrestrial areas and are considered as large carbon (C) sinks. However, fundamental information on topsoil sensitivity to grazing is lacking across different spatial scales including the effects of topography. Our interdisciplinary approach considering soil chemical, physical, and vegetation properties included investigations on pit scale (square-metre scale), plot scale (hectare scale), and the scale of a landscape section (several hectares). Five different sites, representing a grazing intensity gradient, ranging from a long-term grazing exclosure to a heavily grazed site were used. On the pit scale, data about aggregate size distribution, quantity of different soil organic carbon (SOC) pools, SOC mineralisation, hydraulic conductivity and shear strength was available for topsoil samples from representative soil profiles. Spatial variability of topographical parameters, topsoil texture, bulk density, SOC, water repellency, and vegetation cover was analysed on the basis of regular, orthogonal grids in differently grazed treatments by using two different grid sizes on the plot scale and landscape section. On the pit scale, intensive grazing clearly decreased soil aggregation and the amount of fresh, litter-like particulate organic matter (POM). The weak aggregation in combination with animal trampling led to an enhanced mineralisation of SOC, higher topsoil bulk densities, lower infiltration rates, and subsequently to a higher risk of soil erosion. On the plot scale, the effects of soil structure disruption due to grazing are enhanced by the degradation of vegetation patches and resulted in a texture-controlled wettability of the soil surface. In contrast, topsoils of grazing exclosures were characterised by advantageous mechanical topsoil characteristics and SOC-controlled wettability due to higher POM contents. A combined geostatistical and General Linear Model approach identified topography as the fundamental factor creating the spatial distribution of texture fractions and related soil parameters on the scale of a landscape section. Grazing strongly interfered with the topography-controlled particle relocation processes in the landscape and showed strongest effects on the aboveground biomass production and biomass-related soil properties like SOC stocks. We conclude that interdisciplinary multi-scale analyses are essential (i) to differentiate between topography- and grazing-controlled spatial patterns of topsoil and vegetation properties, and (ii) to identify the main grazing-sensitive processes on small scales that are interacting with the spatial distribution and relocation processes on larger scales.
    Keywords: Steppe soils ; Soil organic matter fractions ; Organic carbon mineralisation ; Wind erosion ; Texture ; Vegetation cover ; Shear strength ; Hydraulic conductivity ; Water repellency ; Anisotropy
    ISSN: 0032-079X
    E-ISSN: 1573-5036
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  • 9
    Language: English
    In: Catena, Jan, 2014, Vol.112, p.72(14)
    Description: To link to full-text access for this article, visit this link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.catena.2012.11.011 Byline: Martina Gocke, Stephan Peth, Guido L.B. Wiesenberg Keywords: Calcified roots; Lipid molecular proxies; Paleovegetation; Alkanes; Fatty acids; X-ray tomography Abstract: Terrestrial sediments like loess are well known for their paleoenvironmental significance. Although organic carbon contents are commonly very low, loess and organic matter (LOM) thereof is regarded as important terrestrial archive for vegetation and climate during deposition. However, the LOM signal is prone to contamination by OM of other age and origin than the synsedimentary vegetation, e.g. by postsedimentary deep-rooting plants. We hypothesized that the influence of rhizosphere effects related to deep-rooting plants varies with depth in quality, quantity and distance to the former root. The 13m thick late Pleistocene loess-paleosol sequence at Nussloch (SW Germany) contains rhizoliths (calcified roots) of Holocene age. With the carbonatic encrustation leading to preservation of former root deposits, rhizoliths allow for assessment of rhizosphere processes that occurred during the root's lifetime. Several horizontal transects comprising rhizoliths, surrounding loess (rhizoloess) up to a distance of 11cm from rhizoliths, and root-free reference loess from different depth intervals, were analyzed for their carbon (C), alkane and fatty acid (FA) composition. Alkane proxies like carbon preference index (CPI), average chain length (ACL), as well as n-C.sub.27/n-C.sub.31 and n-C.sub.29/n-C.sub.31 ratios indicated grass vegetation as origin of LOM, while rhizoliths derived from woody vegetation. Several lipid molecular proxies, e.g. short chain/long chain alkanes, long chain alkane composition and long chain/very long chain FA, indicated the incorporation of considerable amounts of root and rhizomicrobial OM. The rhizosphere effect, i.e. postsedimentary overprint of initial LOM in the vicinity of roots, was not restricted to few mm around the former root, but notable to distances of at least 5cm and possibly more. This was confirmed by X-ray tomography analyses enabling identification of small calcified root remains and non-calcified root channels in the former rhizosphere, which could not be identified under field conditions. In depth intervals with high rhizolith frequency, this entailed lateral overprint of large parts of loess, which in depths of 1.95 and 3.2m below present surface can cover the whole loess due to extension of the former rhizosphere of 〉5cm. Regarding the high rhizolith frequency (maximizing at 200m.sup.-2 at ~2.6m depth) at Nussloch, these findings raise the importance of deep-rooting plants as potential source for significant postsedimentary overprint of loess-paleosol sequences.
    Keywords: Proxy -- Analysis ; Fatty Acids -- Analysis ; Loess -- Analysis ; Tomography -- Analysis
    ISSN: 0341-8162
    Source: Cengage Learning, Inc.
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  • 10
    Language: English
    In: Soil Science Society of America journal, 2011, Vol.75(2), pp.426-433
    Description: In Inner Mongolia, animal trampling is one of the main factors causing soil degradation manifested by altered mechanical strength or changes in water and gas fluxes. Soil samples were collected at two depths (4–8 and 18–22 cm) on the Stipa grandis steppe ecosystem in Inner Mongolia from two treatments characterized by different grazing intensities: ungrazed since 1979 (UG) and continuously grazed (CG). The following mechanical soil properties were determined under static and repeated loading conditions: precompression stress, P c; coefficient of cyclic compressibility, c n, and compression index, C c Air conductivity measurements were used to quantify the changes in soil functions due to application of repeated loading. The CG site showed significantly higher precompression stress values (111 kPa) than the UG site (64 kPa) at the first soil depth. The highest c n values were found in the topsoil of the UG site, while the CG site had significantly lower c n values. Repeated loading caused higher soil deformation compared to the static loading test. It was also found that the strain of soil samples from the UG site was higher than the CG site. We found a good fit between c n and precompression stress. The C c values of the cyclically loaded samples were significantly lower at the CG site than the statically loaded ones. The air conductivity of the UG site remained constant for a wider stress range of repeatedly applied stress compared with the CG site, which reflects higher stability of the soil pore network at the UG site. ; p. 426-433.
    Keywords: Kastanozems ; Animals ; Topsoil ; Grazing ; Soil Pore System ; Ecosystems ; Deformation ; Soil Mechanical Properties ; Soil Sampling ; Soil Depth ; Steppes ; Soil Degradation ; Trampling Damage ; Air ; Compressibility
    ISSN: 0361-5995
    E-ISSN: 14350661
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