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Modeling Grazing Effects on Soil-Water Budget Under Leymus chinensis and Stipa grandis Vegetation in Inner Mongolia, China

Gan, Lei1,2,3,4; Peng, Xinhua3; Peth, Stephan4; Horn, Rainer4

doi: 10.1097/SS.0b013e31829c5d32
Technical Article

To better understand the effects of different grazing intensities on soil-water dynamics and its budget in Inner Mongalia, China, five sites, under two representative vegetation types, Leymus chinensis (LC) and Stipa grandis (SG), were investigated: ungrazed sites since 1979, LCUG79 and SGUG79, a winter grazed site (LCWG), a continuously grazed site (SGCG) defined as a moderate grazing intensity, and a heavily grazed site (LCHG). Soil, plant, and meteorological data were collected for use in modeling soil-water content and its budget during growing seasons from 2008 to 2009 using the HYDRUS-1D. The soil-water content in 2010 was simulated using annually averaged values of initial and boundary conditions. Our results showed that grazing reduced total pores and saturated hydraulic conductivity but ungrazed sites benefited from natural recovery. Greater transpiration was observed at the SGCG site when compared with the LCWG and LCHG sites. At the two ungrazed sites, transpiration was greater in the SG region as compared with the LC region. Rainfall reduced the difference between potential and actual evapotranspiration through increasing plant-available water. The simulation of soil water in 2010 using annually averaged parameters was determined to be an acceptable alternative to actual on-site observation. Our data suggest that selection of an appropriate grazing intensity may be possible via simulation modeling for use in making land management decision, especially in the absence of on-site observations as often is the case from such remote regions.

1 College of Environmental Science and Engineering, Guilin University of Technology, Guilin, China.

2 The Guangxi Key Laboratory of Environmental Pollution Control Theory and Technology, Guilin, China.

3 State Key Laboratory of Soil and Sustainable Agriculture, Institute of Soil Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Nanjing, China.

4 Institute of Plant Nutrition and Soil Science, Christian-Albrechts-University zu Kiel, Kiel, Germany.

Address for correspondence: Dr. Xinhua Peng, State Key Laboratory of Soil and Sustainable Agriculture, Institute of Soil Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Nanjing, 210008 China. E-mail:

Financial Disclosures/Conflicts of Interest: This research was funded by the National Basic Research Program of China (2013CB429902), German Research Foundation (DFG) for the MAGIM project (Forschergruppe 536). The authors report no conflicts of interest.

Received January 9, 2013.

Accepted for publication May 13, 2013.

© 2013Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins