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Journal of Arid Land

Article Title

Spatio-temporal variations of soil water content and salinity around individual Tamarix ramosissima in a semi-arid saline region of the upper Yellow River, Northwest China

Abstract

Ecological restoration by Tamarix plants on semi-arid saline lands affects the accumulation, distribution patterns and related mechanisms of soil water content and salinity. In this study, spatio-temporal variations of soil water content and salinity around natural individual Tamarix ramosissima Ledeb. were invetigated in a semi-arid saline region of the upper Yellow River, Northwest China. Specifically, soil water content, electrical conductivity (ECe), sodium adsorption ratio (SARe), and salt ions (including Na+, K+, Ca2+, Mg2+ and SO42–) were measured at different soil depths and at different distances from the trunk of T. ramosissima in May, July, and September 2016. The soil water content at the 20–80 cm depth was significantly lower in July and September than in May, indicating that T. ramosissima plants absorb a large amount of water through the roots during the growing period, leading to the decreasing of soil water content in the deep soil layer. At the 0–20 cm depth, there was a salt island effect around individual T. ramosissima, and the ECe differed significantly inside and outside the canopy of T. ramosissima in May and July. Salt bioaccumulation and stemflow were two major contributing factors to this difference. The SARe at the 0–20 cm depth was significantly different inside and outside the canopy of T. ramosissima in the three sampling months. The values of SARe at the 60–80 cm depth in May and July were significantly higher than those at the 0–60 cm depth and higher than that at the corresponding depth in September. The distribution of Na+ in the soil was similar to that of the SARe, while the concentrations of K+, Ca2+, and Mg2+ showed significant differences among the sampling months and soil depths. Both season and soil depth had highly significant effects on soil water content, ECe and SARe, whereas distance from the trunk of T. ramosissima only significantly affected ECe. Based on these results, we recommend co-planting of shallow-rooted salt-tolerant species near the Tamarix plants and avoiding planting herbaceous plants inside the canopy of T. ramosissima for afforestation in this semi-arid saline region. The results of this study may provide a reference for appropriate restoration in the semi-arid saline regions of the upper Yellow River.

Keywords

Tamarix ramosissima; soil water content; electrical conductivity; sodium adsorption ratio; saline soil; Yellow River

First Page

101

Last Page

114

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