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Distribution of soil organic carbon and phosphorus on an eroded hillslope of the rangeland in the northern Tibet Plateau, China

, : Distribution of soil organic carbon and phosphorus on an eroded hillslope of the rangeland in the northern Tibet Plateau, China. European journal of soil science 57(3): 365-371

Some studies on the relationship between soil erosion and subsequent redeposition of eroded soils in the same field and soil quality have been conducted in croplands, yet few studies have revealed this relationship in rangelands. We selected a toposequence with a slope of 30% and a horizontal length of 342 m from the rangeland in the northern Tibet Autonomous Region, China (31A16'N, 92A09'E) to determine the relationship between soil erosion, soil organic carbon (SOC) content and available P patterns within a hillslope landscape. Soil samples for the determination of [superscript 137]Cs as well as SOC, available P and particle-size fractions were collected at 20 m intervals along a transect of this hillslope. Soil redistribution was caused primarily by wind erosion at toe-slope positions, but primarily by water erosion at the hillslope positions above the toe-slope. In upper- and mid-slope portions (0 m to 244 m horizontal length), SOC content is closely correlated to [superscript 137]Cs concentration (r = 0.74, P < 0.01, n= 15), suggesting that SOC distribution along the slope was similar to [superscript 137]Cs distribution, which itself was dependent on topographic changes. However, SOC contents in toe-slope portions are less than those above the toe-slope (i.e. upper- and mid-slope portions), and the correlation between [superscript 137]Cs and SOC in the toe-slope portion is weaker than that above the toe-slope. A highly significant correlation (r = 0.72, P < 0.001, n= 20) between [superscript 137]Cs concentration and available P was found within the whole hillslope landscape, implying the distribution pattern of available P was somewhat different from that of SOC. We suggest that the distribution of SOC within the hillslope landscape is also affected by factors such as assimilation rates due to difference in grassland productivity at different points and different biological oxidation rates of carbon related to patterns of moisture distribution.


DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2389.2005.00747.x

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