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Abstract Title:

Soil Aggregate Dynamics and Plant Community Response after Biosolids Application in a Semiarid Grassland.

Abstract Source:

J Environ Qual. 2016 Sep ;45(5):1663-1671. PMID: 27695737

Abstract Author(s):

Brian M Wallace, Maja Krzic, Reg F Newman, Tom A Forge, Klaas Broersma, Gerry Neilsen

Article Affiliation:

Brian M Wallace

Abstract:

Biosolids may improve the ecological function of degraded semiarid grasslands, but an understanding of the plant community is essential. An experiment was established in 2001 to determine the effects of a single surface application of biosolids on soil aggregate stability and the composition of the plant community in a semiarid grassland in British Columbia, Canada. Four treatments were evaluated: (i) surface biosolids application at 20 (Bio-20) and (ii) 60 Mg ha (Bio-60), (iii) mineral fertilizer, and (iv) a control. All treatments were replicated in four blocks. Soil was sampled during the spring (May), summer (June-July), and fall (October) in 2005, 2006, and 2009; the plant community was assessed in 2009. The greatest increases in size of stable aggregates relative to the control were in the spring and summer, which coincided with a 1.6- to 2.1-fold increase in the spring concentration of N within stable aggregates when biosolids were applied at 20 and 60 Mg ha , respectively. Nitrogen concentrations from the Bio-60 treatment were not different from the control, but the Bio-20 treatment had 42% greater N than all other treatments during summer. Biosolids application in this ecosystem did not increase perennial forage grass species relative to the control, and when biosolids were applied at a rate of 60 Mg ha there was a 75% reduction in the perennial forage plant species. The application of biosolids to native grasslands in semiarid environments should be done cautiously, especially when winter annual plant species (e.g., cheatgrass [ L.]) are present before application.

Study Type : Environmental
Additional Links
Problem Substances : Biosolids : CK(2) : AC(1)

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