Net primary production and nutrient cycling in an apple orchard–annual crop system in the Loess Plateau, China: a comparison of Qinguan apple, Fuji apple, corn and millet production subsystems
- 362 Downloads
In this study, we investigated net primary production (NPP) and nutrient cycling in an apple orchard–annual crop system located in the Hill and Gully Region of the Loess Plateau, which included four production subsystems: Qinguan apple, Fuji apple, corn and millet. The results showed that NPP of corn (Zea mays L.) was two to three times greater than for millet (Setaria Italica L.) or apples (Malus domestica Borkh., cv ‘Fuji’ and ‘Qinguan’). Annual nutrient uptake by corn and millet was also much larger compared to apple trees. A comparison of nutrient use efficiency based on economic product showed that P and K use efficiency for Qinguan apples was about 50% greater compared to corn, while there was little difference in N use efficiency between apples and corn. More than 94% of the nutrients taken up by annual crops were lost from the system through the removal of grain and above-ground crop residue. In contrast, apple harvest and tree pruning resulted in the removal of 10–50% of the nutrients taken up annually by apple trees. Calculations indicated that farmers applied 60 times more N and 33 times more P to Qinguan apple orchards than was removed by apple harvest, but the amount of N and P fertilizer applied to corn was slightly less than the amount of N and P removed through crop harvest. In summary, the results indicated that increasing the proportion of land planted to apples and convincing farmers to leave annual crop residue in the fields would increase the sustainability of the apple orchard–annual crop system. Additional work needs to be done to determine the fate of N and P fertilizer applied to orchards as well as optimum fertilization rates for each of the four crops in the apple orchard–annual crop system.
KeywordsLoess Plateau Net primary production Nutrient cycling System
This work was financially supported by the west-action program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (No. KZCX2-XB2-05). Special appreciation is given to three anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments.
- Cao CG, Zhang GY, Wang YH (1998) Study survey on nutrient cycles in agricultural eco-system. Acta Ecol Sin 17(4):26–32Google Scholar
- Feng ZW, Wang XK, Wu G (1999) Biomass and productivity of forest ecosystem in China. Science Press, Beijing, pp 1–6 (in Chinese)Google Scholar
- Feng ZW et al (1992) Agroforestrial system, study on the northern He’nan of Huanghuaihai Plain. CAS Technology Press, Beijing, pp 126–135 (in Chinese)Google Scholar
- Li YK (1983) Conventional analyzing method of soil and agrochemistry. Science Press, Beijing, pp 132–164 (in Chinese)Google Scholar
- Lu RK (2000) Analyzing method of soil and agrochemistry. Agricultural Science and Technology Press, Beijing, pp 113–136 (in Chinese)Google Scholar
- Lu ZF, Liang YM, Liu GB (1997) Ecological agriculture of the Loess Planteau in China. Shaanxi Science and Technology Press, Xi’an, pp 4–6 (in Chinese)Google Scholar
- Ove E (2002) Chemical and physical analysis of inorganic nutrient in plant, soil, water and air. SLU, Grafiska Enheten, Umea, Sweden, pp 40–43Google Scholar
- Russel EW (1961) Soil conditioning and plant growth. Longmans, Green and Co., Ltd, LondonGoogle Scholar
- Shoulders E, Wittwer RF (1979) Fertilizing for high fiber yields in intensively managed plantations. In: Impact of intensive harvesting on forest nutrient cycling, Proceedings of a symposium, Syracuse, NY, 13–16 August. School of Forestry, Syracuse, pp 343–359Google Scholar
- Wu FQ, Liu BZH (2003) Composite collocation of apple orchard and annual crops in the Loess Plateau. Huanghe Water Resource Press, Zhengzhou, pp 66–70 (in Chinese)Google Scholar
- Wu G, Feng ZW, Qin YZH (1994) A study on functional character of apple intercropping with crops ecosystem. Acta Phytoecol Sin 18(3):243–252 (in Chinese)Google Scholar