Legacy of land-use evident in soils of Western Australia's wheatbelt

Rachel Standish, Viki Cramer, Richard Hobbs, H.T. Kobryn

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    52 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Native regeneration of old-fields in the wheat-growing region of Western Australia is slow to non-existent.We compared the physio-chemical properties of three old-fields and three woodland remnants adjacent toeach old-field to determine if current soil conditions are a barrier to regeneration. Of the variation in soilproperties, 17.4% was described by spatial structure, 5.4% by land use (cultivation time and time sinceabandonment), 3.9% by soil type and 2.6% by vegetation and leaf litter cover. There were differences inindividual soil properties between old-field and remnant soils at two sites. Soil compaction, probableerosion as evident by a higher percentage of coarse fragments, increased Colwell phosphate that weinterpret as fertiliser residue and reduced organic carbon were evident in one old field, after 60 years ofcultivation and 14 years abandonment. Increased Colwell phosphate was evident at the second old field,despite only 1 year in cultivation and 45 years in recovery. The third site showed no evidence of its 4 yearperiod in cultivation 43 years ago despite similar farming practices and soil type to the second. Phosphatefertiliser residues could account for the dominance of non-native annual grasses in the re-assembly ofwheatbelt old-fields.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)189-207
    JournalPlant and Soil
    Volume280
    Issue number1/2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2006

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