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Soil chemical and biochemical properties of a salt-marsh alluvial Spanish area after long-term reclamation

  • Autori: Laudicina, V.; HURTADO BEJARANO, M.; Badalucco, L.; Delgado, A.; Palazzolo, E.; Panno, M.
  • Anno di pubblicazione: 2009
  • Tipologia: Articolo in rivista (Articolo in rivista)
  • OA Link:


Marisma, one of the largest salt-marsh alluvial areas in SW Spain, has been reclaimed since 1970 by artificial drainage and amendment with phosphogypsum (PG) so as to reduce Na+ saturation. Within the reclaimed area, two 250-×20-m plots were treated as follows: (1) amendment with 25 Mg/ha of PG every 2 to 3 years between 1979 and 2003 (plot PY); (2) like PY but PG treatment stopped after 1997 (plot DR). A contiguous virgin Marisma salt-marsh plot (MV), neither drained nor amended, was the control. In MV, soil microbial biomass C, most enzyme activities and total organic C content were much greater than in PY and DR soils, despite the salinity stress. The decrease in soil organic matter content in PY and DR soils was likely due to cotton-cropping practices, which favoured the organic C mineralisation and nutrients removal by crops. Microbial activity of MV soil, probably stimulated by the rhizodepositions of the natural vegetation, did not suffer from the osmotic effect due to the raising of soil solution ionic strength. Microbial quotient could be ranked as MV>PY>DR, whereas the metabolic quotient had an opposite trend. Thus, both quotients suggested that the interruption of PG amendment was not favouring microbial activity. Principal component analysis clearly identified the chemical and biochemical soil properties mostly affected by the reclamation and also indicated the longer PG amendment in PY plot. Stepwise discriminant analysis identified two physiologically different types of soil microflora, one less active present in the MV virgin soil and another more active present in the reclaimed PY and DR soils.