The effects of landscape attributes and plant community on soil chemical properties in rangelands

S.A. Rezaei, Robert Gilkes

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    88 Citations (Web of Science)

    Abstract

    This study addressed the effect of landscape attributes and plant community type on the spatial distribution of soil chemical properties in an alpine rangeland in a semiarid area of Iran. To identity die effects of landscape attributes on soil chemical properties, the present study collected and analyzed information from air photos, satellite images, field survey, and the laboratory using statistical analyses. Land stratification allowed the study area to be subdivided into Land Unit Tracts (LUT), according to specified criteria including landform attributes (slope, aspect, and altitude), and vegetation type. A factorial model on the basis of a completely randomized design was used to analyze the data collected from 234 LUT. The interrelationships between soil chemical properties and landscape attributes were investigated and interpreted based on statistical analysis and expert knowledge. Most chemical properties of the 0- to 10-cm topsoil including EC, OC%, total N%, P, and K significantly related to slope gradient. Soil chemical properties including the grouping described as nutrient elements (CEC, N, P, K, and OC), and pH significantly related to aspect of slope. In addition lower soil temperature and less moisture evaporation on a north-facing slope (shady aspect) resulted in less organic matter decomposition and consequently more organic carbon and total nitrogen accumulation in the soil. Consequently, the soil nutrient pool and general fertility on north-facing slopes was greater than on south-facing slopes. The interdependency of landscape attributes, plant community, and soil chemical properties led to a variety of species, vegetation types, and plant communities existing in the study area. In this research. vegetation type was highly significantly related to all the determined soil chemical properties except for cation exchange capacity. (C) 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)167-176
    JournalGeoderma
    Volume125
    Issue number1/2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2005

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