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Title

SOIL ORGANIC CARBON DYNAMICS IN NATIVE RANGELANDS EXPOSED TO GRAZING AND UNGRAZING MANAGEMENT IN RANGELAND ECOSYSTEMS OF CENTRAL ZAGROUS

Writers

RIAHI SAMANI M. | RAIESI F.

Pages

 Start Page 742 | End Page 753

Abstract

 The study of soil C dynamics and factors controlling this important soil process in RANGELAND ECOSYSTEMS mayprovide an insight into understanding and evaluating changes in the global C cycle. The primary objective of this study was to quantity the effects of pasture management (i.e., grazing, controlled grazing and ungrazing) on soil C levels and mineralization in three natural rangeland sites of Chaharmahal Va Bakhtiyari province. Three RANGE MANAGEMENT regimes including: (a) long-term ungrazed, (b) controlled grazed and (c) free (over) grazed in close vicinity were selected at three sites including SabzKouh (protected from grazing for 18 years), Boroujen (protected from grazing for 23 years) and Sheida (protected from grazing for 2 years). Soil samples were collected from 0-15 cm depth and organic C, total N and C MINERALIZATION were measured using standard methods. Results show that SabzKouh and Sheida sites had the highest (14.6 mg g-1) and the lowest (4.80 mg g-1) soil organic C contents, respectively. Soil total N and organic C contents at SabzKouh were significantly higher when compared to other sites, probably due to more rainfall and humid CLIMATE. The effect of RANGE MANAGEMENTon soil C MINERALIZATION was evident at two of the three sites. Results indicate that the exclusion of grazinganimals resulted in an increase in soil C MINERALIZATION at SabzKouh and Boroujen sites, probably through the addition of plant residues and animal excrements to the soil. However, ungrazed management did not improve plant cover and soil properties in Sheida area, due likely to dry CLIMATE conditions, less biomass production and the history of cultivation and agricultural uses. It is, therefore, concluded that the effect of grazing on soil Cmineralization depends primarily upon the plant community and climatic conditions and also upon the type of rangeland management and even land use history involved.

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