Allocation of mass and stability of soil aggregate in different types of Nei Mongol grasslands

WANG Tian1,2 XU Shan3 ZHAO Meng-Ying1,2 LI He1,2 KOU Dan1,2 FANG Jing-Yun1 HU Hui-Feng1

(1.State Key Laboratory of Vegetation and Environmental Change, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China 100093)
(2.University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China 100049)
(3.South China Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guangzhou, China 510650)

【Abstract】 Aims Soil aggregate is an important component of soil structure, playing an important role in the physical and biological protection mechanism of soil organic carbon (SOC) through isolating SOC from microorganisms. As far as we know, there are few studies, however, on exploring the spatial distribution of soil aggregate at the regional scale. Our objective was to investigate the mass allocation and stability of soil aggregate in different types of Nei Mongol grasslands. Methods We established 78 sites with size of 10 m × 10 m across the transect of Nei Mongol grasslands and collected soil samples from different soil depths up to 1 m. We used wet sieving method to separate different sizes of aggregate partition and used mean mass diameter (MMD) and geometric mean diameter (GMD) in order to evaluate the stability of soil aggregate. The two-way ANOVA was used to test the difference of mass percentage and stability of soil aggregate in different grassland types and soil depths. In addition, linear regression analysis was used to analyze the correlations of mass percentage and stability of soil aggregate with both mean annual precipitation (MAP) and mean annual air temperature (MAT). Important findings The results showed that the mass percentages of soil aggregate were the highest in meadow steppe, while almost equal in typical steppe and desert steppe. However, no significant patterns were found along the soil depth. The mass percentage of soil aggregate fractions was positively correlated with MAP in all soil layers, but negatively correlated with MAT except the layer of 70–100 cm. For the stability of soil aggregate, at 0–10 and 10–20 cm, the MMD and GMD of meadow steppe were significantly greater than those of typical and desert steppes, whereas no significant difference among three grassland types was found for other soil layers. Besides, the MMD and GMD in meadow steppe and typical steppe gradually decreased along the soil depth.

【Keywords】 Nei Mongol grasslands; mass percentage of soil aggregate; soil aggregate stability; soil depth; climatic factors;


【Funds】 National Basic Research Program of China (973 Program) (2015CB954201 and 2014CB954303)

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(Translated by ZHAO B)


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This Article



Vol 41, No. 11, Pages 1168-1176

November 2017


Article Outline


  • 1 Materials and methods
  • 2 Results and analysis
  • 3 Discussion
  • References