Journal of Arid Land

, Volume 10, Issue 3, pp 429–440 | Cite as

Growth and sustainability of Suaeda salsa in the Lop Nur, China

  • Congjuan Li
  • Ran Liu
  • Shijie Wang
  • Yongqiang Sun
  • Shengyu Li
  • Heng Zhang
  • Jie Gao
  • Yanxi Dang
  • Lili Zhang


Extremely saline soils are very harsh environments for the growth and survival of most plant species, however, halophytes can grow well. The underlying mechanism of halophyte to resist high saline is not well understood by us. This study was conducted at the potash mine near the Lop Nur, China, where the effects of the halophyte Suaeda salsa L. on the saline-alkaline soils and its growth and sustainability were investigated. Four plots (in which the salt encrustation layers were removed), with different soil treatments were evaluated: (1) undisturbed soil, with no additional treatment (T1); (2) the slag soil zone, in which a 40-cm layer of slag was placed on the undisturbed soil surface (T2); (3) slag+sandy soil, in which a 20-cm layer of slag was placed in the lower layer and 20 cm of sandy soil, taken from an area about 70 km away from Lop Nur potash mine, where Tamarix species were growing, was placed in the upper layer (T3); and (4) a 40-cm sandy soil layer taken from the area where Tamarix species were growing was placed on undisturbed soil (T4). Soil nutrient contents increased in the four treatments, but salt content only decreased in the T1 treatment. Salt content in the T4 treatment increased over the two-year period, which may be partly attributed to salt deposition from wind-blown dust within the mine and salt accumulation within the surface soil (0–20 cm) in response to high evaporative demands. The S. salsa plants exhibited greater improvements in growth under the T4 treatment than under the T1, T2, and T3 treatments, which demonstrated that low levels of salinity are beneficial for the growth of this species. The T1 treatment was sustainable because of its low cost and superior soil improvement characteristics. Therefore, S. salsa plants not only reduced soil salinity and increased soil nutrient levels, but also ameliorated the plant growth environment, which would be beneficial for both the ecological restoration of the Lop Nur area and similar areas throughout the world.


Suaeda salsa saline-alkaline soil plant-soil interaction sustainability Lop Nur 


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This study was supported by the Youth Innovation Promotion Association of Chinese Academy of Sciences (2017476), the National High-level Personnel Special Support Program, Xinjiang Youth Science and Technology Innovation Leader Project (QN2016BS0162), the National Key Research and Development Program (2017YFSF03024105), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31700423, 31300449), and the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region Science and Technology Support Project (201433101).


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Copyright information

© Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Congjuan Li
    • 1
  • Ran Liu
    • 2
  • Shijie Wang
    • 1
  • Yongqiang Sun
    • 1
  • Shengyu Li
    • 1
  • Heng Zhang
    • 1
  • Jie Gao
    • 1
  • Yanxi Dang
    • 3
  • Lili Zhang
    • 4
  1. 1.National Engineering Technology Research Center for Desert-Oasis Ecological Construction, Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and GeographyChinese Academy of SciencesUrumqiChina
  2. 2.State Key Laboratory of Desert and Oasis Ecology, Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and GeographyChinese Academy of SciencesUrumqiChina
  3. 3.Singapore Deposit Insurance Corporation (SDIC) Xinjiang Luobupo Potash Co. Ltd.UrumqiChina
  4. 4.Tarim BranchPetroChina Company LimitedKorlaChina

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