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THE INFLUENCE OF BLOWING SOIL TRAPPED BY SHRUBS ON FERTILITY IN TABERNAS DISTRICT (SE SPAIN)

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ABSTRACT

The purpose of this study is to relate soil properties affected by the deposit of materials by the wind to the percentage of vegetation surface that facilitates their accumulation. To do this, we applied artificial wind and compared its effects to natural conditions by making use of the ‘fertility islands’ generated by some species of bushes under their canopies in semiarid environments and, which according to many publications, modify soil characteristics substantially.

Two very common species in our flat semiarid study area, Hammada articulata and Artemisia barrelieri, were chosen for comparison. Soil was sampled in gaps between shrubs and under canopies. Some shrubs were subjected to extra wind, whereas others were kept under natural conditions. At the end of this first stage, the islands under the canopies were sampled again, and any differences found in the data were studied. Increased retention of material affects the fertility of soils. Thus, we observed, for example, an increase in biomass carbon showing greater biological activity. Finally, we performed a statistical analysis, which resolved our hypothesis on the influence of the percentage of plant surface on the soil parameters. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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