Effects of legume species introduction on vegetation and soil nutrient development on abandoned croplands in a semi-arid environment on the Loess Plateau, China

Z.Q. Yuan, K.L. Yu, H. Epstein, C. Fang, J.T. Li, Q.Q. Liu, X.W. Liu, W.J. Gao, Feng-Min Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

30 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

© 2015 Elsevier B.V. Revegetation facilitated by legume species introduction has been used for soil erosion control on the Loess Plateau, China. However, it is still unclear how vegetation and soil resources develop during this restoration process, especially over the longer term. In this study, we investigated the changes of plant aboveground biomass, vegetation cover, species richness and density of all individuals, and soil total nitrogen, mineral nitrogen, total phosphorus and available phosphorus over 11 years from 2003 to 2013 in three treatments (natural revegetation, Medicago sativa L. introduction and Melilotus suaveolens L. introduction) on the semi-arid Loess Plateau. Medicago significantly increased aboveground biomass and vegetation cover, and soil total nitrogen and mineral nitrogen contents. The Medicago treatment had lower species richness and density of all individuals, lower soil moisture in the deep soil (i.e., 1.4-5 m), and lower soil available phosphorus. Melilotus introduction significantly increased aboveground biomass in only the first two years, and it was not an effective approach to improve vegetation biomass and cover, and soil nutrients, especially in later stages of revegetation. Overall, our study suggests that M. sativa can be the preferred plant species for revegetation of degraded ecosystems on the Loess Plateau, although phosphorus fertilizer should be applied for the sustainability of the revegetation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)692-700
Number of pages9
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Volume541
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Effects of legume species introduction on vegetation and soil nutrient development on abandoned croplands in a semi-arid environment on the Loess Plateau, China'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this