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Applied and Environmental Soil Science publishes research in the field of soil science. Its focus reflects the multidisciplinary nature of soil science, especially the dynamics and spatial heterogeneity of processes in soil.
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Soil Erodibility Analysis and Mapping in Gilgel Gibe-I Catchment, Omo-Gibe River Basin, Ethiopia
The soil erosion factor, erodibility, measures the susceptibility of soil particles to transport and detachment by erosive agents. Soil erosion and sedimentation models use soil properties and erodibility as the main input. However, in developing countries such as Ethiopia, data on soil erosion and soil-related properties are limited. For this reason, different researchers use different data sources that are adopted from a large scale and come with very different results. For this reason, the study was proposed to analyze and map the soil erodibility of the catchment area using primary data. 80 mixed soil samples were taken from the catchment with GPS coordinates and analyzed in the laboratory for soil texture class and soil organic matter. Accordingly, sandy clay loam is a dominant soil texture class covering 65% of the catchment area with 2.46% average soil organic matter, which is high in the mountainous part and lower in the lower valley of the catchment area. Most of the catchment area, which accounts for more than 78% of the area, was dominated by medium- or coarse-grained soil structure, and in the upper parts of the catchment area, 21% of the catchment area was covered with fine-grained soil structure. Similarly, 66% of the catchment area was covered with slow to moderate soil permeability, followed by slow soil permeability covering 21% of the area. Finally, the soil erodibility value of the Gilgel Gibe-I catchment was determined to be 0.046 ton h·MJ−1·mm−1 with a range of 0.032 to 0.063 ton·h·MJ−1·mm−1. In general, soils with slow permeability, high silt content, and medium- to fine-grained soil structures are the most erodible. They are conveniently separate; they tend to crust and form high drainage. Knowing this, the catchment has a moderate soil erodibility value. Thus, the study recommends evidence of land cover and the protection of arable land through suitable soil and water protection measures to improve soil permeability and soil structure.
Urea Application Rate for Crop Straw Decomposition in Temperate China
Returning straw to the field has become the most important straw utilization method in China. The aim of this research was to study the appropriate amount of nitrogen fertilizer applied when returning the straw of three major crops (wheat, rice, and corn) to the field in areas under low to high yield levels based on the demand of nitrogen for microbial decomposition of straw. Under the condition of returning 100% straw to the field, we developed the formula for calculating the nitrogen application rate and estimated the urea application rate for the three major grain crops. The results showed that returning straws of wheat, early-season rice, middle-season rice and late-season rice, and corn to the field with urea application at the rate of about 150 kg/ha, 120～135 kg/ha, 75 kg/ha, and 75～90 kg/ha, respectively, can provide sufficient nitrogen for microbial decomposition. The urea application rate for returning 100% wheat straw to the field in Huang-Huai-Hai region, Middle-Lower Yangtze region, Loess plateau region, and Northwest arid region was 135–230 kg/ha, 110–190 kg/ha, 85–145 kg/ha, and 95–165 kg/ha, respectively. 52.5–98.5 kg/ha of urea was used for 100% early rice straw returning to the field in Middle-Lower Yangtze region and South China. In addition, the urea application rate for 100% middle-late rice straw returning to the field was 95–180 kg/ha, 100–185 kg/ha, 95–175 kg/ha, and 75–140 kg/ha, respectively. The rate of urea application for 100% corn straw returning to the field in Northeast China, Huang-Huai-Hai, Northwest arid region, and Southwest China was 60–135 kg/ha, 50–115 kg/ha, 60–135 kg/ha, and 45–105 kg/ha, respectively. The amount of nitrogen fertilizer required for the total return of crop straw is not only affected by crop straw C : N, yield per unit area, and ratio of grass to grain but also affected by straw returning mode, regional nitrogen application level, and other factors. Therefore, the amount of nitrogen fertilizer should be adjusted according to the type of cropping system, soil, and climatic conditions of the specific location. This substantial N input for stimulating straw decomposition may favor N losses with nitrate leaching and nitrous oxide emissions and hold a potential for soil N eutrophication in the long term if the level is not carefully adjusted to the N requirement of the subsequent crops and changes in soil organic matter levels.
Effects of Soil and Water Conservation at Different Landscape Positions on Soil Properties and Farmers’ Perception in Hobicheka Sub-Watershed, Southern Ethiopia
This study aimed to evaluate the effects of soil and water conservation (soil bund with desho grass and soil bund only) at different landscape positions on selected soil properties and farmers’ perception in the Hobicheka sub-watershed (with an area of 400 ha) of Kechabira District. Composite soil samples were taken from soil bunds with desho grass and soil bunds only at three landscape positions with three replications, whereas 117 respondents were identified using simple random sampling. The result revealed that the clay, soil moisture content, soil pH, OC, TN, Av.P, and CEC were higher in soil bund with desho grass as compared to adjacent soil bund only, whereas, bulk density, silt, and sand contents were higher in adjacent soil bund only compared to soil bund with desho grass. About 83.5% of the respondents were users of soil and water conservation measures and among them, 40.19% perceived that soil bund with desho grass has an effect on soil properties, while 25.35% perceived that soil bund only had better soil and water conservation practices. Respondents’ years of experience, education level, and access to soil and water conservation extension services significantly () affected their perception of the use of soil bunds with desho grass. Therefore, soil bund with desho grass at appropriate landscape positions by considering farmer perception improves the soil’s physicochemical properties.
Pharmaceutical Pollution: Azole Antifungal Drugs and Resistance of Opportunistic Pathogenic Yeasts in Wastewater and Environmental Water
The occurrence of residual antifungal agents through indiscriminate prophylactic use and inappropriate disposal has been reported in wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs), surface water, and groundwater environments. Opportunistic pathogenic aquatic yeasts develop resistance to commonly used antifungal agents through continued exposure to residual antifungal agents in environmental waters. This poses a major public health concern. The present review attempts to provide a brief description of antifungal drugs, with a focus on the most widely used class of antifungal drugs, the azoles, as emerging contaminants in environmental water. Routes of exposure of azole antifungal drugs in wastewater treatment plants, surface water, and groundwater are discussed. The presence of pathogenic yeasts in environmental water, the associated azole resistance, and the risk of exposure to humans and microbiota are highlighted. Management actions needed to curtail the spread and minimise the risks are also indicated. Further research on the occurrence of antifungal agents in wastewater and environmental water is vital to better understand and mitigate the associated health-related risks.
The Residual Copper and Zinc in Tropical Soil over 21 Years after Amendment with Heavy Metal Containing Waste, Lime, and Compost
This research aimed to evaluate the residual Cu and Zn in tropical soil over 21 years after amendment with industrial waste, lime, and compost. Soil samples were collected from a well-maintained experimental field amended one time with industrial waste high in Cu and Zn set in 1998 at about 1.5–20 years after amendment. Treatments were arranged in a randomized block design with a metal-wares industrial waste at rates 0, 15, and 60 Mg·ha−1, lime at 0 and 5 Mg·ha−1, and compost at 0 and 5 Mg·ha−1. Soil samples were also taken vertically in the exact plot centers at depths of 0–75 cm of plots not amended with lime and compost and also from topsoils (0–15 cm) at 90 points with distances 50 cm between each other in each of the respective plots 21 years after amendment. Significant increases in Cu and Zn caused by waste were observed over 21 years. The increase in soil pH by lime was observed over 10 years but its effect in decreasing Cu and Zn was observed only at 1.5 years, particularly in topsoils. However, the effect of lime in lowering Cu and Zn was observed over 20 years when waste and/or compost were also given. Similarly, the effect of compost was absent over 20 years but significant when waste and/or lime were also given. The relative concentration of Cu and Zn in the 60 Mg waste ha−1 plots decreased over 20 years to 17–53% for Cu and to 12–33% for Zn; their concentrations were, in general, lower with lime and/or compost addition. The relative concentrations of Cu and Zn significantly decreased over 21 years in plots with 15 or 60 Mg·ha−1 and increased in the control plots. Heavy metals moved in soil significantly through soil tillage and erosion and partially by leaching.
Forms and Dynamics of Soil Potassium in Acid Soil in the Wolaita Zone of Southern Ethiopia
Quantity-intensity (Q/I) characteristics are among conventional approaches for studying potassium dynamics and its availability. This was assessed to determine availability in four districts: namely, Sodo Zuria, Damot Gale, Damot Sore, and Boloso Sore, at three different land use systems (enset-coffee, crop land, and grazing land). Fractionation and dynamics of K sources were studied in soil samples, which were collected from 0–20 cm depth of each land system. The study revealed that water extractable K (H2O-K) concentrations ranged from 0.13 to 0.34 cmolc kg−1 soils at enset-coffee and grazing land use systems, respectively, and had a mean value of 0.28 cmolc kg−1 soils ammonium acetate extractable (NH4OAC-K) and nitric acid extract (HNO3-K) had a mean value of 0.25 cmolc kg−1 soils. In this study, the means of nonexchangeable- and exchangeable-K concentrations were of 0.11 and 0.14 cmolc kg−1 soils for land use types. Significant correlations were found between soil properties and Q/I parameters and among equilibrium solution parameters and Q/I parameters. There was no significant variation among the mean quantity values of the soils. The soils had higher change in exchangeable-K and potential buffering capacity than the enset-coffee land use soils, and the cop land had the highest values for these parameters. However, the enset-coffee land use soils had higher K-intensity. Therefore, application of site specific soil fertility management practices and research can improve soil K status and Q/I parameters to sustain productivity soils.