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The Deterioration of Tall Wheatgrass Pastures on Saline Sodic Soils

Miguel A. Taboada, Gerardo Rubio and Raul S. Lavado
Journal of Range Management
Vol. 51, No. 2 (Mar., 1998), pp. 241-246
DOI: 10.2307/4003213
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4003213
Page Count: 6
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The Deterioration of Tall Wheatgrass Pastures on Saline Sodic Soils
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Abstract

The deterioration of sown tall wheatgrass (Elytrigia elongata) growing on 3 sodic saline soils was investigated in the Laprida basin, in the center of the Buenos Aires province of Argentina. These soils are known to have poor drainage and high saline levels and support different species associations. On each soil type the native grassland was compared to sown wheatgrass, in terms of plant density and cover and soil physical and chemical characteristics. The 3 soil types reacted differently to tillage. Tillage had little impact on soil type A (typic Natraquoll), a poorly drained soil with a loamy A horizon (14 cm) overlying a silty clay loam. Soil type B (typic Natraquaf), a wet texture contrast soil with bleached horizons has characteristics that are likely to severely limit plant growth. The sowing of wheatgrass increased ground cover by live vegetation on this soil type. This contrasted with soil type C (typic Natralboll), a saline soil with an organic matter-rich but thin (8 cm) A horizon. In this soil, the plant density declined and other components such as pasture cover also declined with time. This pasture deterioration was attributed to several soil factors including decreased organic matter content and increased soil bulk density. It was concluded that the varied performance of wheatgrass sown pastures was a function of the different inherent characteristics of the soils. /// Se investigó el deterioro de pasturas de agropiro (Elytrigia elongata), sembradas sobre tres suelos salino-sódicos de la depresión de Laprida (centro de la provincia de Buenos Aires, Argentina). Estos suelos se caracterizan por su pobre drenaje y altos nieveles de salinidad, y soportan diferentes comunidades vegetales. En cada tipo de suelo se comparó el pastizal nativo contra la pastura sembrada de agropiro, en términos de la densidad y cobertura de plantas, y características fisicas y químicas de los suelos. Los tres tipos de suelo respondieron diferente a las labranzas. El laboreo afectó poco al suelo tipo A (Natracuol típico), el cual es pobremente drenado y posee un horizonte Ah (14 cm) franco sobre un horizonte franco limo arcilloso. El suelo tipo B (Natracualf típico), con texturas contrastantes y horizontes eluviados, posee características que limitan severamente el creimiento de las plantas. En este suelo, la siembra de agropiro incrementó la cobertura superficial por vegetación viva. Ello contrastó con el suelo tipo C (Natralbol típico), salino y con un horizonte A rico en materia orgánica, pero somero (8 cm). En este suelo, la densidad de plantas declinó y otros componentes, como la cobertura de la pastura, también declinaron con el tiempo. Este deterioro de la pastura fue atribuido a una serie de factores edáficos, que incluyen el descenso en el contenido de materia orgánica y el aumento en la densidad aparente. Se concluyó que la distinta performance de las pasturas de agropiro fue causada por las características particulares de los suelos.

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