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【European Journal of Soil Science】Evolution of loess-derived soil along a climatic toposequence in the Qilian Mountains, NE Tibetan Plateau
发布时间:2017-05-10  来源:土壤与农业可持续发展国家重点实验室  浏览:399

Yang F, Huang LM, D.G. Rossiter, Yang F, Yang RM, Zhang GL. Evolution of loess-derived soil along a climatic toposequence in the Qilian Mountains, NE Tibetan Plateau. European Journal of Soil Science, 2017, 68(3): 270-280

Summary

Holocene loess has been recognized as the primary source of the silty topsoil in the northeast Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau. The processes through which these uniform loess sediments develop into diverse types of soil remain unclear. In this research, we examined 23 loess-derived soil samples from the Qilian Mountains with varying amounts of pedogenic modification. Soil particle-size distribution and non-calcareous mineralogy were changed only slightly because of the weak intensity of chemical weathering. Accumulation of soil organic carbon (SOC) and leaching of carbonate were both identified as predominant pedogenic responses to soil forming processes. Principal component analysis and structural analysis revealed the strong correlations between soil carbon (SOC and carbonate) and several soil properties related to soil functions. Accretion of SOC effectively decreased soil bulk density (R2 = 0.81) and increased cation exchange capacity (R2 = 0.96), soil water retention at saturation (R2 = 0.77), field capacity (R2 = 0.49) and wilting point (R2 = 0.56). These results indicate that soil ecological functions are strengthened during pedogenic modification of such loess sediments. Soil C/N ratio was constant at small SOC contents, but after reaching a threshold of approximately 35 g kg−1 SOC, soil C/N increased linearly with SOC. This indicates a change from a carbon-limited loess ecosystem in arid regions to a nitrogen-limited one in alpine settings. This research suggests that loess sequences within environmental gradients offer great potential as natural experiments to explore intrinsic soil behaviour and ecosystem evolution because the effect of parent material is well constrained.

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