Volume 16, Issue 59 (spring 2012)                   JWSS 2012, 16(59): 183-198 | Back to browse issues page

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M. Riahi, F. Raiesi. Potential Soil N Mineralization in Rangeland Ecosystems with Long-Term Free Grazing and Ungrazing Regimes in Different Climates. JWSS. 2012; 16 (59) :183-198
URL: http://jstnar.iut.ac.ir/article-1-2207-en.html
Abstract:   (14423 Views)
Mountainous landscapes in Central Zagros are mainly used as grazing rangelands to feed animals and are heavily degraded. Overgrazing may impose a negative effect on rangeland productivity and sustainability through significant changes in soil properties. Soil nitrogen (N) mineralization is one of the key biological processes that might be affected by biotic and abiotic factors including range grazing regime or intensity. The primary objective of this study was to assess the effects of rangeland management (grazing and ungrazing regimes) on soil N mineralization in natural rangelands of Chaharmahal VA Bakhtiyari province. Three range management regimes including a) long-term ungrazed, b) controlled grazed and c) freely- (over)-grazed plots in a close vicinity were selected in three regions consisting of SabzKouh (protected from grazing for 18 years), Boroujen (protected from grazing for 23 years) and Sheida (protected from grazing for 2 years), and soil samples were collected from 0-15 cm depth for some physical and chemical properties. Soil N mineralization was measured under standard laboratory conditions. At SabzKouh, the effect of range management on the cumulative N mineralization and the proportion of N mineralized (%) was significant (P<0.05) and ungrazing regime resulted in 89% and 96% increases in soil N mineralization in ungrazed rangelands compared with controlled grazed and freely- grazed rangelands, respectively. Similarly, soil N mineralization was significantly greater (P<0.05) in ungrazed rangelands (3.3- to 3.5-folds) than in controlled grazed and freely-grazed rangelands at Boroujen site. However, at Sheida site with short-term ungrazing period and cropping history there were no significant and considerable differences in soil N mineralization among the three grazing regimes. Briefly, degraded rangelands at SabzKouh and Boroujen sites seem to recover rather quickly from long-term overgrazing with a proper grazing management, while rangeland ecosystems at Sheida site need a much longer period for steady-state conditions and for improvements in soil quality and fertility after long-term soil degradation and disturbance.
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Type of Study: Research | Subject: Ggeneral
Received: 2012/07/4

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