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Role of soil erodibility in affecting available nitrogen and phosphorus losses under simulated rainfall

Wang, Guoqiang, Wu, Binbin, Zhang, Lei, Jiang, Hong, Xu, Zongxue
Journal of hydrology 2014 v.514 pp. 180-191
agricultural soils, cinnamon, erodibility, nitrogen, nutrient availability, phosphorus, rain intensity, rainfall simulation, runoff, sediment yield, sediments, soil nutrients, China
The loss of available nutrients and the effects of soil erodibility on available nutrients losses were rarely researched. Here, laboratory simulation experiments were conducted to determine the soil erodibility effects on the available nitrogen (AN) and phosphorus (AP) losses. The impacts of rainfall intensity and slope on AN and AP losses were also studied. Two contrasting agricultural soils (Burozems and Cinnamon) that occur throughout the northern erosion region of China were selected. Two rainfall intensities (60 and 120mmh−1) and two slopes (10% and 20%) were studied. Overall, greater runoff, sediment and available nutrient losses occurred from the Cinnamon soil due to its greater soil erodibility, which was approximately 2.8 times greater than that of the Burozems soil. The influence of runoff on sediment was positively linear. The absolute slope of the regression line between runoff rate and sediment yield rate was suitable as a soil erodibility indicator. Runoff-associated AN and AP losses were mainly controlled by runoff rate, and were weakly affected by soil erodibility (p>0.05). However, soil erodibility significantly influenced the sediment-associated AN and AP losses (p<0.01), and a positive logarithmic correlation best described their relationships. Since the runoff-associated AN and AP losses dominated the total AN and AP losses for both soils, soil erodibility also exhibited negligible influence on the total AN and AP losses (p>0.05). Increasing rainfall intensity and slope generally increased the runoff, sediment, and available nutrient losses for both soils, but had no significant influences on their relationships. Our results provide a better understanding of soil and nutrient loss mechanisms.