Please wait a minute...
 Home  About the Journal Subscription Advertisement Contact us   英文  
Just Accepted  |  Current Issue  |  Archive  |  Featured Articles  |  Most Read  |  Most Download  |  Most Cited
Journal of Geographical Sciences    2019, Vol. 29 Issue (5) : 791-802     DOI: 10.1007/s11442-019-1628-8
Evaluating the soil quality of newly created farmland in the hilly and gully region on the Loess Plateau, China
CHEN Yiping1(),WU Junhua1,2,WANG Hong1,2,MA Jifu1,2,SU Cuicui1,2,WANG Kaibo1,WANG Yi1
1. State Key Laboratory of Loess and Quaternary Geology, Institute of Earth Environment, CAS, Xi’an 710061, China;
2. University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
Download: PDF(5094 KB)   HTML
Export: BibTeX | EndNote | Reference Manager | ProCite | RefWorks    

In order to better understand the quality of newly created farmland (NF) as well as slope and check-dam farmland (CF) soil quality, two typical traditional farmland areas within the hilly and gully region of Chinese Loess Plateau were selected as controls in this analysis. The results of this study initially reveal that pH values for slope farmland (SF) and CF were significantly lower (P < 0.05) than those for NF and that SF values were always greater than those of their CF counterparts. At the same time, cation exchange capacity (CEC) and soil organic matter (SOM) occurred in the following size-decreasing sequence, i.e., CF, SF, and NF. Data also show that long-term planting has resulted in increases in total nitrogen (N), available N, total phosphorus (P), available P, total potassium (K) and available K and has also enhanced concentrations of soil copper (Cu), zinc (Zn), iron (Fe), and manganese (Mg) as well as soil cadmium (Ca), lead (Pb), chromium (Cr), and mercury (Hg). These latter elements occur in the concentration sequence of SF > CF > NF. Overall, results indicate that long-term planting negatively impacts soil health because of the accumulation of toxic heavy metals. This means that farmland planted over longer timescales needs to lie fallow to enable it to rehabilitate while NF requires the addition of organic matter as well as rotational utilization in order to facilitate the development of green agriculture.

Keywords Loess Plateau      land use      soil quality      heavy metals     
Fund:National Key Research and Development Program of China, No.2017YFD0800500
Issue Date: 19 April 2019
E-mail this article
E-mail Alert
Articles by authors
CHEN Yiping
WU Junhua
MA Jifu
SU Cuicui
WANG Kaibo
Cite this article:   
CHEN Yiping,WU Junhua,WANG Hong, et al. Evaluating the soil quality of newly created farmland in the hilly and gully region on the Loess Plateau, China[J]. Journal of Geographical Sciences, 2019, 29(5): 791-802.
URL:     OR
Figure 1  Maps showing the sample collection site. The five-pointed star denotes the sampling sites within Shaanxi Province, China.
Figure 2  Comparisons between soil pH values in three loess types. Bars (means values ± SD from six independent experiments) with different letters are significantly different at the 0.05 level (n = 6) based on LSD multiple comparisons. The dotted line denotes soil pH background levels (1979-1983).
Figure 3  Comparisons between concentrations of soil CEC (a) and organic matter (b) in three types of loess soils. Bars (means values ± SD from three independent experiments for CEC or six independent experiments for organic matter) with different letters are significantly different at the 0.05 level based on LSD multiple comparisons.
Figure 4  Comparisons between concentrations of total N (a), available N (b), total P (c), available P (d), total K (e) and available K (f) in three loess types. Bars (mean values ± SD from six independent experiments) with different letters are significantly different at the 0.05 level (n = 6) based on LSD multiple comparisons.
Figure 5  Comparisons between contents of total Cu (a), Zn (b), and Mn (c) in three loess types. Bars (mean values ± SD from three independent experiments) with different letters are significantly different at the 0.05 level (n = 3) based on LSD multiple comparisons.
Figure 6  Comparisons between contents of soil available Cu (a), Zn (b), Fe (c), and Mn (d) in three loess types. Bars (mean values ± SD from three independent experiments) with different letters are significantly different at the 0.05 level (n = 3) based on LSD multiple comparisons.
Figure 7  Comparisons between concentrations of total Cd (a), Pb (b), Cr (c), and Hg (d) in three loess types. Bars (mean values ± SD from three independent experiments) with different letters are significantly different at the 0.05 level (n = 3) on the basis of LSD multiple comparisons.
[1] Aciego Pietri J C, Brookes P C, 2008. Relationships between soil pH and microbial properties in a UK arable soil.Soil Biology & Biochemistry, 40(7): 1856-1861.
doi: 10.1016/j.soilbio.2008.03.020
[2] Bao S D, 2002. Soil Agricultural Chemical Analysis. Beijing: China Agricultural Press (in Chinese)
[3] Bellamy P H, Loveland P J, Bradley R Iet al., 2005. Carbon losses from all soils across England and Wales 1978-2003.Nature, 437(7056): 245-248.
doi: 10.1038/nature04038
[4] Berthelsen B O, Steinnes E, Solberg Wet al., 1995. Heavy-metal concentrations in plants in relation to atmospheric heavy-metal deposition.Journal of Environmental Quality, 24(5): 1018-1026.
doi: 10.2134/jeq1995.00472425002400050034x
[5] Brady N C, Buckman H O, 1999. The nature and properties of soil.Journal of Range Management, 5(6): 333.
[6] Brady N C, Weil R R, 2002. The Nature and Properties of Soil. 13th ed. Springer Netherlands.
[7] Bremner J, Tabatabai M, 1972. Use of an ammonia electrode for determination of ammonium in kjeldahl analysis of soils1.Communications in Soil Science & Plant Analysis, 3(2): 159-165.
doi: 10.1080/00103627209366361
[8] Brubaker S C, Jones A J, Lewis D Tet al., 1993. Soil properties associated with landscape position.Soil Science Society of America Journal, 57(1): 235-239.
doi: 10.2136/sssaj1993.03615995005700010041x
[9] Caravaca F, Lax A, Albaladejo J, 1999. Organic matter, nutrient contents and cation exchange capacity in fine fractions from semiarid calcareous soils.Geoderma, 93(4): 161-176.
doi: 10.1016/S0016-7061(99)00045-2
[10] Chen H M, Zheng C R, Tu Cet al., 1999. Heavy metal pollution in soils in china: Status and countermeasures.Ambio, 28(2): 130-134.
doi: 10.1080/027868299304679
[11] Chen Y, Wang K, Lin Yet al., 2015. Balancing green and grain trade.Nature Geoscience, 8(10): 739-741.
doi: 10.1038/ngeo2544
[12] He C X, 2015. The situation, characteristics and effect of the gully reclamation project in Yan’an.Journal of Earth Environment, 6(4): 255-260.
[13] Dong J, Yang Q W, Sun L Net al., 2011. Assessing the concentration and potential dietary risk of heavy metals in vegetables at a Pb/Zn mine site, China.Environmental Earth Sciences, 64(5): 1317-1321.
doi: 10.1007/s12665-011-0992-1
[14] Facchinelli A, Sacchi E, Mallen L, 2001. Multivariate statistical and GIS-based approach to identify heavy metal sources in soils.Environmental Pollution, 114(3): 313-324.
doi: 10.1016/S0269-7491(00)00243-8
[15] Gray C, McLaren R, Roberts A, 2003. Atmospheric accessions of heavy metals to some New Zealand pastoral soils.The Science of The Total Environment, 305(1-3): 105-115.
doi: 10.1016/S0048-9697(02)00404-7
[16] Guo Z Y, 1992. Soil of Shaanxi. Beijing: Science Press (in Chinese).
[17] Huang S S, Liao Q L, Hua Met al., 2007. Survey of heavy metal pollution and assessment of agricultural soil in Yangzhong District, Jiangsu Province, China.Chemosphere, 67(11): 2148-2155.
doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2006.12.043
[18] Islam A, Edwards D G, Asher C J, 1980. pH optima for crop growth: Results of a flowing solution culture experiment with 6 species.Plant and Soil, 54(3): 339-357.
doi: 10.1007/BF02181830
[19] Jackson M L, 1969. Soil Chemical Analysis: Advanced Course. University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin.
[20] Kalavrouziotis I K, Robolas P, Koukoulakis P Het al., 2008. Effects of municipal reclaimed wastewater on the macro- and micro-elements status of soil and of brassica oleracea var. Italica, and b-oleracea var. Gemmifera.Agricultural Water Management, 95(4): 419-426.
doi: 10.1016/j.agwat.2007.11.004
[21] Li J W, Richter D D, Mendoza Aet al., 2010. Effects of land-use history on soil spatial heterogeneity of macro- and trace elements in the southern piedmont USA.Geoderma, 156(2): 60-73.
doi: 10.1016/j.geoderma.2010.01.008
[22] Lindsay W L, Norvell W A, 1978. Development of a dtpa soil test for zinc, iron, manganese, and copper.Soil Science Society of America Journal, 42(3): 421-428.
doi: 10.2136/sssaj1978.03615995004200030009x
[23] Liu Q, Wang Y, Zhang Jet al., 2013. Filling gullies to create farmland on the Loess Plateau.Environmental Science & Technology, 47(14): 7589-7590.
doi: 10.1021/es402460r pmid: 23855739
[24] Liu Y S, Guo Y J, Li Y Ret al., 2015. GIS-based effect assessment of soil erosion before and after gully land consolidation: A case study of Wangjiagou project region, Loess Plateau.Chinese Geographical Science, 25(2): 137-146.
doi: 10.1007/s11769-015-0742-5
[25] Lu R K.2000. Soil Analytical Methods of Agronomic Chemicals. Beijing: China Agricultural Science and Technology Press (in Chinese).
[26] Lu Y, Fu B, Feng Xet al., 2012. A policy-driven large scale ecological restoration: Quantifying ecosystem services changes in the Loess Plateau of China.PLoS One, 7(2): 31782.
doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0031782 pmid: 3280995
[27] Macdonald C A, Thomas N, Robinson Let al., 2009. Physiological, biochemical and molecular responses of the soil microbial community after afforestation of pastures with Pinus radiata. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 41(8): 1642-1651.
doi: 10.1016/j.soilbio.2009.05.003
[28] Mengel K, Uhlenbecker K, 1993. Determination of available interlayer potassium and its uptake by ryegrass.Soil Science Society of America Journal, 57(3): 761-766.
doi: 10.2136/sssaj1993.03615995005700030023x
[29] Murphy J, Riley J P, 1962. A modified single solution method for the determination of phosphate in natural waters.Analytica Chimica Acta, 27: 31-36.
doi: 10.1016/S0003-2670(00)88444-5
[30] Nabulo G, Young S D, Black C R, 2010. Assessing risk to human health from tropical leafy vegetables grown on contaminated urban soils.Science of the Total Environment, 408(22): 5338-5351.
doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2010.06.034 pmid: 20739044
[31] Olsen S, Sommers L, 1982. Methods of soil analysis. Part 2: Phosphorus methods of soil analysis.ASA Monograph, 9: 403-430.
[32] Qiu L P, Zhang X C, Cheng J Met al., 2010. Effects of black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia) on soil properties in the loessial gully region of the Loess Plateau, China. Plant and Soil, 332(2): 207-217.
doi: 10.1007/s11104-010-0286-5
[33] Richardson A E, Hocking P J, Simpson R Jet al., 2009. Plant mechanisms to optimise access to soil phosphorus.Crop & Pasture Science, 60(2): 124-143.
[34] Sillanpää , M, 1982. Micronutrients and the nutrient status of soils: A global study. Soils Bulletin 48, FAO, Rome.
[35] Sillanpää , M, 1990. Micronutrient assessment at country level: An international study. Soils Bulletin No. 63, FAO, Rome.
[36] Solgi E, Esmailisari A, Riyahibakhtiari Aet al., 2012. Soil contamination of metals in the three industrial estates, Arak, Iran.Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, 88(4): 634-638.
doi: 10.1007/s00128-012-0553-7 pmid: 22323051
[37] Sundara B, Natarajan V, Hari K, 2002. Influence of phosphorus solubilizing bacteria on the changes in soil available phosphorus and sugarcane and sugar yields.Field Crops Research, 77(1): 43-49.
doi: 10.1016/S0378-4290(02)00048-5
[38] Tang K L, Zhang K L, Lei A L, 1998. Critical slope gradient for compulsory abandonment of farmland on the hilly Loess Plateau.Chinese Science Bulletin, 43(5): 409-412.
doi: 10.1007/BF02883721
[39] Teng Y, Wu J, Lu Set al., 2014. Soil and soil environmental quality monitoring in China: A review.Environ. Int., 69: 177-199.
[40] Tripler C E, Kaushal S S, Likens G Eet al., 2006. Patterns in potassium dynamics in forest ecosystems.Ecology Letters, 9(4): 451-466.
doi: 10.1111/j.1461-0248.2006.00891.x pmid: 16623731
[41] Von Oheimb G, Hardtle W, Naumann P Set al., 2008. Long-term effects of historical heathland farming on soil properties of forest ecosystems.Forest Ecology and Management, 255(6): 1984-1993.
doi: 10.1016/j.foreco.2007.12.021
[42] Wang F, Mu X, Li Ret al., 2015. Co-evolution of soil and water conservation policy and human-environment linkages in the Yellow River Basin since 1949.Science of the Total Environment, 508: 166-177.
doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2014.11.055 pmid: 25478653
[43] Wang Q, Dong Y, Cui Yet al., 2001. Instances of soil and crop heavy metal contamination in China.Soil and Sediment Contamination: An International Journal, 10(5): 497-510.
doi: 10.1080/20015891109392
[44] Wang X, Tang C, Baldock J Aet al., 2015. Long-term effect of lime application on the chemical composition of soil organic carbon in acid soils varying in texture and liming history.Biology and Fertility of Soils, 52(3): 295-306.
doi: 10.1007/s00374-015-1076-2
[45] Wang Y, Fu B, Chen Let al., 2011. Check dam in the Loess Plateau of China: Engineering for environmental services and food security.Environ. Sci. Technol., 45(24): 10298-10299.
doi: 10.1021/es2038992 pmid: 22087751
[46] White J G, Zasoski R J, 1999. Mapping soil micronutrients.Field Crops Research, 60(1): 11-26.
doi: 10.1016/S0378-4290(98)00130-0
[47] Xue Chengze, Xiao Ling, Wu Qianfenget al., 1986. Study on the background value of ten elements in the main agricultural soil of Shaanxi Province.Journal of Northwest Sci-tech University of Agriculture and Forestry (Natural Science Edition), 14(3): 30-53 (in Chinese).
[48] Yeomans J C, Bremner J M, 1988. A rapid and precise method for routine determination of organic carbon in soil 1.Communications in Soil Science & Plant Analysis, 19(13): 1467-1476.
[49] Zhang B Q, He C S, Burnham Met al., 2016. Evaluating the coupling effects of climate aridity and vegetation restoration on soil erosion over the Loess Plateau in China.Science of the Total Environment, 539: 436-449.
doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2015.08.132 pmid: 26379259
[50] Zheng Y J, Chen Y P, Maltby Let al., 2016. Highway increases concentrations of toxic metals in giant panda habitat.Environ. Sci. Pollut. Res. Int., 23(21): 21262-21272.
doi: 10.1007/s11356-016-7221-0 pmid: 27497849
[51] Zhou Z S, Zheng S Q, Wu P Tet al., 1997. The study on anti-scourability of soil in Loess Plateau.Research of Soil & Water Conservation, 4(5): 47-58 (in Chinese).
[1] LI Yurui,LI Yi,FAN Pengcan,SUN Jian,LIU Yansui. Land use and landscape change driven by gully land consolidation project: A case study of a typical watershed in the Loess Plateau[J]. Journal of Geographical Sciences, 2019, 29(5): 719-729.
[2] CAO Zhi,LI Yurui,LIU Zhengjia,YANG Lingfan. Quantifying the vertical distribution pattern of land-use conversion in the loess hilly region of northern Shaanxi Province 1995-2015[J]. Journal of Geographical Sciences, 2019, 29(5): 730-748.
[3] QIAO Weifeng,GAO Junbo,GUO Yuanzhi,JI Qingqing,WU Ju,CAO Min. Multi-dimensional expansion of urban space through the lens of land use: The case study of Nanjing City, China[J]. Journal of Geographical Sciences, 2019, 29(5): 749-761.
[4] LONG Hualou,ZHANG Yingnan,TU Shuangshuang. Rural vitalization in China: A perspective of land consolidation[J]. Journal of Geographical Sciences, 2019, 29(4): 517-530.
[5] ZHANG Jingjing,ZHU Wenbo,ZHU Lianqi,CUI Yaoping,HE Shasha,REN Han. Topographical relief characteristics and its impact on population and economy: A case study of the mountainous area in western Henan, China[J]. Journal of Geographical Sciences, 2019, 29(4): 598-612.
[6] HU Weijie,LIU Hailong,BAO Anming,Attia M. El-Tantawi. Influences of environmental changes on water storage variations in Central Asia[J]. Journal of Geographical Sciences, 2018, 28(7): 985-1000.
[7] ZHANG Yingnan,LONG Hualou,MA Li,GE Dazhuan,TU Shuangshuang,QU Yi. Farmland function evolution in the Huang-Huai-Hai Plain: Processes, patterns and mechanisms[J]. Journal of Geographical Sciences, 2018, 28(6): 759-777.
[8] HUANG Gengzhi,LENG Shuying. The progress of human geography in China under the support of the National Natural Science Foundation of China[J]. Journal of Geographical Sciences, 2018, 28(12): 1735-1756.
[9] KUANG Wenhui,YAN Fengqin. Urban structural evolution over a century in Changchun city, Northeast China[J]. Journal of Geographical Sciences, 2018, 28(12): 1877-1895.
[10] SHAO Jing’an,DANG Yongfeng,WANG Wei,ZHANG Shichao. Simulation of future land-use scenarios in the Three Gorges Reservoir Region under the effects of multiple factors[J]. Journal of Geographical Sciences, 2018, 28(12): 1907-1932.
[11] XIA Tian,WU Wenbin,ZHOU Qingbo,TAN Wenxia,Peter H. VERBURG,YANG Peng,YE Liming. Modeling the spatio-temporal changes in land uses and its impacts on ecosystem services in Northeast China over 2000-2050[J]. Journal of Geographical Sciences, 2018, 28(11): 1611-1625.
[12] SHI Shuqin,HAN Yu,YU Wentao,CAO Yuqing,CAI Weimin,YANG Peng,WU Wenbin,YU Qiangyi. Spatio-temporal differences and factors influencing intensive cropland use in the Huang-Huai-Hai Plain[J]. Journal of Geographical Sciences, 2018, 28(11): 1626-1640.
[13] WANG Jun,ZHONG Lina,ZHAO Wenwu,YING Lingxiao. The influence of rainfall and land use patterns on soil erosion in multi-scale watersheds: A case study in the hilly and gully area on the Loess Plateau, China[J]. Journal of Geographical Sciences, 2018, 28(10): 1415-1426.
[14] ETEFA Guyassa,Amaury FRANKL,Sil LANCKRIET,BIADGILGN Demissie,GEBREYOHANNES Zenebe,AMANUEL Zenebe,Jean POESEN,Jan NYSSEN. Changes in land use/cover mapped over 80 years in the Highlands of Northern Ethiopia[J]. Journal of Geographical Sciences, 2018, 28(10): 1538-1559.
[15] KUANG Wenhui,YANG Tianrong,YAN Fengqin. Examining urban land-cover characteristics and ecological regulation during the construction of Xiong’an New District, Hebei Province, China[J]. Journal of Geographical Sciences, 2018, 28(1): 109-123.
Full text



Copyright © Journal of Geographical Sciences, All Rights Reserved.
Powered by Beijing Magtech Co. Ltd