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Factors that influence soil total phosphorus sources on dam fields that are part of ecological construction programs on the Loess Plateau, China

Cheng, Yuting, Li, Peng, Xu, Guoce, Li, Zhanbin, Yu, Kunxia, Cheng, Shengdong, Zhao, Binhua, Wang, Feichao
Catena 2018 v.171 pp. 107-114
Weibull statistics, clay fraction, cropland, forests, grasslands, land use, phosphorus, sand fraction, soil depth, soil organic carbon, soil profiles, soil sampling, terraces, terracing, watersheds, China
Terraces and check-dam construction are widely used to control soil and water on the Loess Plateau, China. However, it is not known whether dam fields behave as soil phosphorus sources or sinks. This study quantitatively assessed the effects of check-dam and terrace construction on soil total phosphorus (STP). It also investigated the factors that influenced STP. A total of 1010 soil samples (five land uses and five soil depths) were collected in a small watershed on the Loess Plateau. The probability density function of the Weibull distribution was used to analyze the STP sources on the dam field land. The results showed that the highest STP concentration was recorded in the dam field land. Furthermore, the STP concentration mean values for the five land-use types decreased in the following order: dam field > terraced land > grassland > forestland > sloping cropland. The highest clay content value was also recorded in the dam field land. Soil total phosphorus was significantly and positively correlated to soil organic carbon (SOC), but negatively correlated to sand content (P < 0.01) in all areas. Across the entire soil profile down to 60 cm depth, the STP levels for the five land-uses were dam field, 2.78 kg/m2; terrace, 2.86 kg/m2; grassland, 2.98 kg/m2; forestland, 2.84 kg/m2; and sloping cropland, 2.83 kg/m2. The percentage contributions made by the four land use types to the soil total phosphorus deposited in the dam field were 50% (sloping cropland), 33% (grassland) and 17% (forestland). Therefore, check dam constructions behave as a sink for soil phosphorus on the Loess Plateau, China.