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This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 74 No. 4, p. 1348-1355
    Received: Sept 26, 2009

    * Corresponding author(s): walter.willms@agr.gc.ca
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Cultivation and Reseeding Effects on Soil Organic Matter in the Mixed Prairie

  1. Xiaoyu Wanga,
  2. Walter D. Willms *b,
  3. Xiying Haob,
  4. Mengli Zhaoa and
  5. Guodong Hana
  1. a Dep. of Grassland Science, College of Ecology and Environment Sci., Inner Mongolia Agricultural Univ., 306 Zhaowuda Road, Hohhot, Inner Mongolia 010018, PR China
    b Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Lethbridge Research Centre 5403-1st Avenue South Lethbridge, AB, Canada T1J 4B1


This study investigated how disturbances from cultivation and haying altered the soil organic C (SOC) at two sites: one (Lethbridge) in a StipaAgropyronBouteloua community (49°7″ N, 112°57″ W) and a second (Onefour) in a more xeric StipaBouteloua community (49°3″ N, 110°27″ W). Seven disturbance treatments were established on previously uncultivated native grassland to assess their effect on SOC 12 or 13 yr after establishment. A randomized complete block design with four replicates was used. Soils were sampled in the fall of 1995, 1997, and 2006 at two increments (0–15 and 15–30 cm) and a third (30–90 cm) was sampled in 2006. The soils were all analyzed for their SOC and, in 2006, also for their light fraction organic C (LF OC) and mineralizable C. Breaking and immediate establishment of perennial grass monocultures had no effect on SOC, LF OC, or mineralizable C. Wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) cropping (either fallow or continuous) resulted in a 19% loss of SOC after 13 yr. The rate of loss varied from an average of about 1.7 Mg ha−1 yr−1 in the first 4 yr to about 0.32 Mg ha−1 yr−1 in the subsequent 9 yr. These results are consistent with a more rapid loss of SOC in the first decade of cropping virgin soils, a slowing rate of loss, and a new steady state within a few decades.

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