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Journal of Geographical Sciences    2019, Vol. 29 Issue (5) : 791-802     DOI: 10.1007/s11442-019-1628-8
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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
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Abstract  

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
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Articles by authors
CHEN Yiping
WU Junhua
WANG Hong
MA Jifu
SU Cuicui
WANG Kaibo
WANG Yi
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.
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http://www.geogsci.com/EN/10.1007/s11442-019-1628-8     OR     http://www.geogsci.com/EN/Y2019/V29/I5/791
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.
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