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Impact of grazing on soil nutrients in a Pampean grassland

Abstract : Cattle exclusion induced dramatic changes in the plant community and modifications in nutrient cycling in grazed native grasslands of the Flooding Pampa (Argentina). The study was carried out to analyze the effect of grazing on the status and spatial variability of soil organic matter, nitrogen and phosphorus. Sampling was performed in the late summer and early spring. Geostatistical methods were used to study the spatial dependence of these soil properties. Organic carbon (OC) and total nitrogen (TN) showed spatial structure only in the ungrazed area with a similar range of dependence (39 m and 36 m respectively). The occurrence of litter in this area lead to a large and spatially homogeneous C input to the soil, which would be the key factor of the spatial structure of organic carbon and total nitrogen. Mineral nitrogen content [(NO3-)-N + (NHd+)-N] was higher in the ungrazed area on both sampling dates. The mineral N content showed a large short-range variahility (nugget variation) independent of grazing history. A significant decrease in the extractable P (Bray & Kurtz #l) in the grazed area was found. The extractable P exhibited spatial structure only in the ungrazed area. However, its spatial pattern was different from those of organic carbon and total nitrogen: the range of dependence was higher (57 m) and the spatial structure exhibited a great irregularity. The differences between C, N, and P variability were possibly related to their dynamics in the soil. No evidence of effects of animal excreta on nutrient content or spatial variability was found.
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  • HAL Id : hal-02687396, version 1
  • PRODINRA : 138775



Raul S. Lavado, Jorge Sierra, Patricia N. Hashimoto. Impact of grazing on soil nutrients in a Pampean grassland. Journal of Range Management, Society for Range Management, 1996, 49 (5), pp.452-457. ⟨hal-02687396⟩



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