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Anthropogenic transformation of soils in the northern Ergeni Upland (studies at the first experimental plot of the Arshan’-Zelmen Research Station)

Novikova, A. F., Konyushkova, M. V.
Eurasian soil science 2013 v.46 no.3 pp. 241-253
agricultural land, exchangeable sodium, forests, plowing, rainfed farming, shelterbelts, soil water
The results of soil studies performed in 2005–2009 at the first experimental plot of the Arshan’-Zelmen Research Station of the Institute of Forest Science of the Russian Academy of Sciences are discussed. The post-reclamation state (about 55 years after reclamation) of the soils under forest shelterbelts and adjacent croplands in the rainfed agriculture was studied. The long-term efficiency of forest reclamation and crop-growing technologies developed in the 1950s by the Dokuchaev Soil Science Institute and the Institute of Forest to reclaim strongly saline solonetzic soils was proved. In 55 years, strongly saline sodic solonetzes with sulfate-chloride and chloride-sulfate composition of salts were replaced by agrogenic soils with new properties. Under forest shelterbelts, where deep (40–60 cm) plowing was performed, the soils were transformed into slightly saline solonetzic agrozems with slight soda salinization in the upper meter and with dealkalized plowed and turbated horizons (0–20(40) cm). Under the adjacent cropland subjected to the influence of the shelterbelts on the soil water regime, strongly saline solonetzes were transformed into solonchakous agrosolonetzes with slight soda salinization in the upper 50 cm. In the plow layer, the content of exchangeable sodium decreased to 4–12% of the sum of exchangeable cations. An increased alkalinity and the presence of soda were found in the middle-profile horizons of the anthropogenically transformed soils.