Effects of Exclosure on Soil Properties in Winter Rangelands in Golestan Province, Iran

Document Type: Research and Full Length Article

Authors

1 Assistant Professor, Department of Rangeland Management, Gorgan University of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, Gorgan, Iran.

2 Assistant Professor, Ahar Faculty of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, Tabriz University, Iran.

3 PhD. Student in Rangeland Sciences, Gorgan University of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, Gorgan, Iran.

Abstract

Rangeland degradation is one of the global concerns affecting the pastoralists and those who suffer from its negative environmental consequences. Grazing exclosure has been extensively used among the techniques implemented by the government to protect the fertility of threatened rangelands. The impact of exclosure has been a controversial issue; therefore, it is important to understand its effectiveness in restoring the degraded rangeland ecosystems. The goal of the present study was to evaluate the changes in some physico-chemical properties of soils following the grazing exclusion as compared to the adjacent grazed areas in three winter rangelands in Golestan province, Iran in 2011-2012. In each rangeland, ten soil samples were taken at the depth of 0–20 cm. Then in the laboratory, some soil properties such as soil texture, bulk density, porosity, saturated humidity, pH, EC, OM, total N, lime content, the amount of exchangeable Na+, K+, Mg++ and Ca++ were measured. Data of exclusion and grazed areas were analyzed using the independent T test in SPSS18 software. The results demonstrated that the establishment of exclosure had positive significant effects on the soil physico-chemical properties in Gomishan and Inchehbroun rangelands. So, a significant increase in the mean value of porosity, saturated humidity, OM and total nitrogen (p<0.05) as well as the significant decrease in bulk density and lime content (p<0.05) was observed in these rangelands. According to the results, the application of exclosure is recommended in Gomishan and Inchehbroun rangelands.

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