Title

Carbon dynamics of sodic and saline soils following gypsum and organic material additions: a laboratory incubation

Document Type

Article

Publication details

Wong, VNL, Dalal, RC, Greene, RSB 2009, 'Carbon dynamics of sodic and saline soils following gypsum and organic material additions: a laboratory incubation', Applied Soil Ecology, vol. 41, no. 1, pp. 29-40.

Published version available from:

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.apsoil.2008.08.006

Peer Reviewed

Peer-Reviewed

Abstract

Carbon fluxes in sodic and saline soils were investigated by measuring the soil microbial biomass (SMB) and soil respiration rates under controlled conditions over 12 weeks. Gypsum (10 t/ha) and organic material, as kangaroo grass (10 t/ha), were incorporated in an acidic and an alkaline saline–sodic soils. Cumulative soil respiration rates were lowest in the sodic and saline soils without amendment, while the highest rates were found in those soils that had organic material addition. The addition of gypsum decreased the cumulative respiration rates in the 0–5 cm layer compared to the addition of organic material and the addition of organic material and gypsum. Similarly, the SMB was lowest in the sodic and saline soils without amendment and highest in the soils which had organic material addition, while the effects of gypsum addition were not significant. The low levels of respiration and SMB were attributed to the low soil organic carbon (SOC) levels that result from little or no C input into the soils of these highly degraded landscapes as the high salinity and high sodicity levels have resulted in scarcity or absence of vegetation. Following the addition of organic material to the sodic and saline soils, SMB levels and respiration rates increased despite adverse soil environmental conditions. This suggests that a dormant population of salt-tolerant SMB is present in these soils, which has become adapted to such environmental conditions over time and multiplies rapidly when substrate is available.