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Influence of lime and gypsum on long-term rehabilitation of a Red Sodosol, in a semi-arid environment of New South Wales

By J. McL. Bennett, R. S. B. Greene, B. W. Murphy, P. Hocking and D. Tongway

Abstract

This paper determines the influence of lime and gypsum on the rehabilitation of a degraded sodic soil in a semi-arid environment 12 years after application. The aim was to assess alternate rehabilitation strategies for sodic soils to the application of gypsum alone. An experimental site where lime and gypsum combinations (L0G0 – lime 0 t ha-1 and gypsum 0 t ha-1, L0G1, L0G2.5, L0G5, L1G0, L2.5G0, L5G0, L1G1, and L2.5G1) had been applied 12 years prior in 1994 was used. An earlier study had reported on the effects after 3 years of the chemical ameliorants and tillage on a range of soil physical and chemical properties at the site. However, this current study, sampled in 2006, assessed the effects after 12 years of lime and gypsum on soil chemistry, stability, hydraulics, vegetative growth and soil respiration. Calcium, primarily from lime, was observed to have a major effect on soil health. Significant effects on soil chemistry were limited to increases in exchangeable calcium and decreases in exchangeable magnesium, although aggregate stability in water and hydraulic conductivity were significantly improved where L5G0 was applied. Vegetation patch width, total nitrogen and carbon, and soil respiration were significantly improved where lime had been added at 2.5 or 5 t/ha. As no lime could be detected in the soil 12 years after application, it was deduced that lime had acted as a catalyst for increased functionality in soil and vegetation interactions. This increased soil functionality resulted in an increased rate of lime dissolution in the soil

Publisher: 'CSIRO Publishing'
Year: 2014
DOI identifier: 10.1071/SR13118
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.usq.edu.au:25007
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