Study: Soil Phosphorus Fractions Transformation Affected by “Fertile Islands” Beneath Three Desert Vegetation
Researchers from Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, the Chinese Academy of Sciences have found that soil phosphorus (P) fractions transformation affected by “fertile islands” beneath three desert vegetation.
The findings were published in CATENA on 3 February 2022, entitled "Fertile islands" beneath three desert vegetation on soil phosphorus fractions, enzymatic activities, and microbial biomass in the desert-oasis transition zone.
The juncture of Qira Oasis and Taklimakan Desert is a hyper-arid and soil nutrients impoverished desert ecosystem. Perennial desert vegetation plays crucial role in maintaining the structure and function of this desert ecosystem by creating "fertile islands" beneath their canopy. Yet, how these fertile islands created by different plant species with different canopy sizes, and soil depth affect the transformation of soil-P fractions, enzymatic activities, microbial biomass concentration, and other soil properties still remain uncertain.
In this study, researchers selected three typical perennial species (Alhagi sparsifolia, Karelinia caspia, Tamarix ramosissima), collected soil samples beneath their canopy and interspace area over a 0–100 cm soil profile to explore fertile islands beneath three desert vegetation on soil P fractions transformation, enzymatic activities, and microbial biomass in the desert-oasis transition zone.
Results showed that fertile island effects beneath three desert plant species across 0–100 cm soil depth, especially in the topsoil layer beneath Tamarix ramosissima canopy. Soil-P fractions were closely related to the soils of the canopy than interspace area. Soil depths and plant species significantly affected soil labile-P beneath the canopy. Soil ALP, β-glucosidase, MBC, and MBN were the main factors for soil labile-P of the canopy.