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The role of soil water retention functions of near-surface fissures with different vegetation types in a rocky desertification area

  • Xudong Peng
  • Quanhou DaiEmail author
  • Guijie Ding
  • Dongmei Shi
  • Changlan Li
Regular Article
  • 55 Downloads

Abstract

Aims

Soil water deficits have presented challenges to vegetation restoration in rocky desertification areas. In the field, small volumes of soil resources are present only in near-surface crevices, fissures, and other similar features. Water stored in the soil in near-surface fissures can help plants grow in such areas. The goals of this study are to discuss the soil water retention functions of near-surface fissures in terms of soil structure, water infiltration and water storage capacity and to define the role of fissure water in the growth of plants in rocky desertification areas.

Methods

Several near-surface fissures with four types of vegetation (i.e., crops, grass, shrubs and trees) within a rocky karst desertification area on the Karst Plateau in Guizhou Province, China, were examined. Soil physicochemical property analysis and stable isotope techniques were applied.

Results

Fissures with shrubs and trees present high levels of soil porosity, while fissures with crops and grasses present low levels of soil porosity. The water infiltration rates of the soil in all of the examined fissures are higher than the rainfall intensity of the maximum daily rainfall for this province. Consequently, most rainwater infiltrates through the fissure soils. Compared to the other fissures, fissures with crops present higher levels of usable soil storage capacity in the surface soils (0–20 cm), which are affected by tillage (ploughing), but exhibit lower capacities in the bottom soil layer. Additionally, tree and shrub fissures present higher usable soil storage capacities in bottom soil layer than other types of fissures.

Conclusions

The main source of water for Ligustrum and Pyracantha in the dry season is fissure water, which accounts for 44.7% and 58.2% of all the water utilized by these species, respectively. Fissure water may represent the most important source of water for plants growing in near-surface karst fissures.

Keywords

Water retention function Near-surface fissure Vegetation types Rocky desertification 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This work was supported through the first class discipline construction projects of Guizhou Province (GNYL[2017]007), the National Key Research and Development Program of China (2016YFC0502604), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 41671275, 41461057), the Major Project of Guizhou Province (Qian Ke He Major Project [2016]3022, Qian Ke He Platform Talent [2017]5788), the High-level Innovative Talents in Guizhou Province (Qian Ke He Platform Talents [2018]5641) and the Research Projects of Introducing Talents in Guizhou University (Gui Da Ren Ji He Zi (2018)49).

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of ForestryGuizhou UniversityGuiyangChina
  2. 2.College of Resource and EnvironmentSouthwest UniversityChongqingChina
  3. 3.Qiantao Township People’s GovernmentGuiyangChina

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