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Grazing Effect on Soil Properties in Dry Subtropic Steppes of Azerbaijan
- Ganieva, S. A., Dyunyamalieva, N. Ya., Ramazanova, F. M.
- Arid ecosystems 2019 v.9 no.3 pp. 174-178
- arid zones, clay, ecosystems, grazing, humus, humus horizons, nitrogen content, organic carbon, pastures, phosphorus, potassium, soil structure, steppes, topsoil, vegetation cover, water stable soil aggregates, Azerbaijan
- The article presents changes in the morphological and diagnostic parameters of gray-brown soils of dry steppes under the effect of grazing on a reserve and with regulated and free grazing. It has been revealed that, in comparison with the reserve regime, long-term intensive free grazing on gray-brown soils of dry steppes resulted in a 50–55% decrease in the projective vegetation cover, a poorer (loose) soil structure, compaction, and a 9.45% decrease in humus content and a 6.07% decrease in organic carbon content in the top horizon. The thickness of the humus horizon decreased by about 50%. There was a twofold decrease in the nitrogen content, while the drop in available phosphorus and potassium compounds was relatively smaller. The physical and mechanical soil properties also worsened: soil compactness in the 0–10-cm layer dropped by 0.13%, valuable clay particles were washed from the topsoil, the soil structure became more powdery, and the content of valuable water-stable aggregates and their water resistance decreased. The goal of the study is to develop more efficient pasture use for grazing in dry steppes.