Mingbin Huang

University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada

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Publications (31)62.79 Total impact

  • Mingbin Huang, S. Lee Barbour, Sean K. Carey
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    ABSTRACT: Multilayer covers are widely accepted reclamation designs in the oil sands region of northern Alberta, Canada, with an ultimate goal of revegetating to species characteristic of predisturbance native plant communities. To determine the optimal depth of reclamation material required to reclaim overburden shale from an oil sands mine, an evaluation was made of the long-term performance of six reclamation soil cover depths all placed over overburden. The measured soil water contents from different cover thicknesses at South Bison Hills located at the Syncrude Mine site north of Fort McMurray, Alberta were used to calibrate and validate a dual-porosity model in HYDRUS-1D. The calibrated and validated model was then used to evaluate the influence of cover thickness and climatic variability on plant available water for forest growth. The frequency distributions of actual transpiration (Tr) for six cover treatments with a range of leaf area index (LAI) cases were developed. These Tr frequency distributions were then modified by coupling Tr and LAI. The modified frequency distributions for annual Tr for the six simulated cover thickness highlight the strong non-linearity between the distribution of Tr over a long-term (60 year) climate cycle in that incremental increases in cover thickness do not produce proportional increases in Tr. The results indicated that, once the cover thickness exceeds 100 cm, there is little incremental increase in the median value of Tr over the 60 year climate cycle. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    Hydrological Processes 01/2015; DOI:10.1002/hyp.10229 · 2.70 Impact Factor
  • Lahmira Belkacem, Lee Barbour, Mingbin Huang
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    ABSTRACT: The occurrence of thermally driven convective air flow within waste rock or natural soil profiles has been well established; however, the potential impact that convective air flow may have on water storage within reclamation soil covers has not been previously explored. We conducted a numerical modeling study to evaluate the effect that convective air flow may have on stored water within a soil reclamation cover placed over a coke stockpile at an oil sands mine in Alberta, Canada. Coke is a carbon, sand-like byproduct of heavy oil processing. Two-dimensional simulations of thermally driven convective air flow were conducted for two different field sites based on available field data. The elevated temperature within the coke stockpile resulted in the development of strong convective air flow cells that drew in drier atmospheric air over the lower slope positions while releasing it across the upper slope and plateau areas of the cover. The magnitude of the gas flux and the intensity of the convection within the cell were a function of the air permeability of the coke and cover material, the depth of the coke, and the slope of the stockpile. It was estimated that convective air movement through the cover could produce as much as 1 to 2 mm/d of enhanced drying of the cover in lower slope positions. Field observations of water content distributions within the cover provided corroboration that the cover has undergone enhanced drying at lower slope positions.
    Vadose Zone Journal 01/2014; 13(1). DOI:10.2136/vzj2013.07.0119 · 2.41 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The impact of textural layering on water retention in sand profiles was evaluated through a series of laboratory column tests and numerical modeling. Alternating horizontal layers of coarse and medium sand were placed in 100-cm-long soil columns with three different layer thicknesses (5, 10, and 25 cm). A fourth column was constructed with a homogeneous mixture composed of equal amounts of coarse and medium sand. The soil columns were completely saturated and then allowed to drain to a water table boundary at the base of the columns. The changes of water storage with time were measured by weighing the columns during drainage and by measuring the soil water content profile after 120 h of drainage. The hydraulic properties of the coarse, medium, and the mixed sand were measured in the laboratory and also optimized using numerical simulations of the column tests. These properties were then used to simulate the longer-term drainage of deeper profiles, more typical of field conditions. The long-term simulations considered a 320-cm deep soil profile in which the upper 100 cm was composed of layers of the two sands or was a homogeneous profile of each sand or a mixture of the two. The lower 220 cm of the column was always coarse sand. A 320-cm homogeneous medium sand profile was also simulated. The laboratory tests suggested that, after 96 h of drainage, the 5- and 10-cm layered columns exhibited similar water retention that was higher than the 25-cm layered column or the mixture. The numerical modeling presented the same trends as the experimental results. Field capacity (FC) was assumed to have been attained in the simulations when the drainage rate reached 0.3 mm/d (10% of the mean daily potential evapotranspiration) at a depth of 100 cm. The water stored at FC was found to be 143, 145, 138, and 111 mm for the 5-, 10-, 25-, and 50-cm layered columns, respectively, much higher than that observed for the homogeneous medium (47 mm) and coarse (46 mm) sand columns. The time to reach FC after a large rainfall pulse (50 mm) was 100, 99, 72, and 45 days for the 5-, 10-, 25-, and 50-cm layered columns, respectively; again, a much longer time than that required for the homogeneousmedium (24 days) and coarse (28 days) sand columns. These results highlight the role of textural layering in not only increasing FC but extending the time frame during which this water is available for plant growth.
    Soil Science 09/2013; 178(9):496-504. DOI:10.1097/SS.0000000000000014 · 1.04 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: a b s t r a c t Soil texture greatly influences soil water movement, thus may affect the water balance and vegetation growth in the deserteLoess Plateau transition zone. This study is to determine if the water balance differs in homogeneous and layered soils with Caragana korshinkii stands in semiarid region. Soil water measure-ments up to 500-cm depth were taken in 2006 and 2007 on homogeneous sandy soil, homogeneous silt loam soil, and layered soil with sand overlying silt loam. HYDRUS-1D was used to simulate the soil water balance. The results indicated the annual water balance components were greatly affected by soil layering. The ratio of average actual evapotranspiration (ET a) to precipitation (P) during the two years in the layered soil was slightly lower than that in homogeneous soils. The ratios of annual actual transpiration (T r) to evapotranspiration were 50.9%, 41.2% and 30.6% in layered soil, homogeneous sandy soil, and homogeneous silt loam soil, respectively. C. korshinkii grown in layered soil had deeper soil water recharge and higher T r / ET a ratio, thus had more available water for transpiration than that in homogeneous soils. This study suggested the layered soil with sand overlying silt loam is more favorable to C. korshinkii growth in terms of water use than homogeneous soils in the deserteLoess Plateau transition zone.
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    ABSTRACT: The reestablishment of productive forests over mining waste and overburden is a primary reclamation goal in oil sands mining in Northern Alberta, Canada. Soil water conditions in coarse-textured soils can be limiting to forest growth. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect that textural variability may have on plant-available water and concomitant forest productivity on coarse-textured reclamation soils. The ecophysiological and biogeochemical processes model, Biome-BGC (Thornton et al., Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 113: 185–222, 2002), was employed to simulate forest dynamics. The water flow sub-model in Biome-BGC was replaced by a field-validated physically based formulation for transient unsaturated water flow. The modified model was assessed using validated physiological parameters, and model predictions were compared with measurements of aboveground biomass dynamics for jack pine (Pinus banksiana Lamb), white spruce [Picea glauca (Moench) Voss], and trembling aspen (Populus tremuloides Michx.). The modified Biome-BGC model was then used to evaluate the response of leaf area index and net primary production to available water holding capacity on texturally variable, coarse-textured soils. The results indicate that textural variability could increase the available water holding capacity within a 1-m profile of coarse-textured soil by 8 to 16 mm. This enhanced available water holding capacity could increase forest leaf area index by 0·3 to 0·8 and net primary production by 14–30% depending on the specific soil texture and tree species. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
    Ecohydrology 04/2013; 6(2). DOI:10.1002/eco.1260 · 2.63 Impact Factor
  • Vadose Zone Journal 01/2013; 12(1). DOI:10.2136/vzj2012.0108 · 2.41 Impact Factor
  • Journal of Arid Environments 01/2013; 98:10-19. · 1.82 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A series of revegetation practices have been implemented to improve the environmental quality and to reduce water and soil losses in the wind and water erosion transitional belt of China's Loess Plateau. An incompatibility exists between the limited water availability and the extensive plant coverage needed to protect the soil from accelerated erosion. The objective of this study was to investigate the relationship between plant coverage and soil water to determine the optimal plant coverage for the two dominant shrubs (Caragana korshinkii Kom and Salix psammophila) in this area. Experiments were performed with four coverage treatments (T0, T1, T2, and T3) for each shrub during the growing seasons of 2008, 2009 and 2010. Soil water content was measured with a neutron probe. The Simultaneous Heat and Water Transfer (SHAW) model was used to simulate soil water content variations for a critical climatic year, i.e. the one-in-ten dry year. The soil and plant parameters of the SHAW model were calibrated using the measured soil water content in the 0–200 cm soil layer of the T2 coverage for each species. The calibrated model was verified using measurements for T0, T1, and T3 plant coverages. The results indicated that soil water storage in the 0–200 cm soil layer decreased with increasing plant coverage. Soil desiccation occurred at various depths in the 0–200 cm soil layer for the different plant coverages. The degree of soil desiccation was greater for the two shrubs when plant coverage was more extensive. The SHAW model, calibrated for soil and plant parameters, accurately simulated soil water variations in the 0–200 cm profile under different plant coverages. During the verification phase, the root mean square error (RMSE) between the measured and simulated soil water contents ranged from 0.022 to 0.033 cm3 cm− 3 and the relative root mean square error (RRMSE) ranged from 14.4% to 24.6%. Based on the observed and modeled interactions of soil water depletion and plant growth, the optimal plant coverage corresponds to a maximum LAI of 1.27 for C. korshinkii and 0.70 for S. psammophila.
    Geoderma 03/2012; s 173–174:134–144. DOI:10.1016/j.geoderma.2011.12.016 · 2.51 Impact Factor
  • GeoManitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba; 01/2012
  • Canadian Journal of Soil Science 05/2011; 91:133. DOI:10.4141/cjss09117 · 1.00 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: B. C. 2011. Infiltration and drainage processes in multi-layered coarse soils. Can. J. Soil Sci. 91: 169Á183. Infiltration and drainage processes in multi-layered soils are complicated by contrasting hydraulic properties. The objective of this study was to evaluate the performances of the hysteretic and non-hysteretic models to simulate the infiltration and drainage processes from three different natural soil profiles containing as many as 20 texturally different layers. Hydraulic properties were estimated from soil textures using pedotransfer functions and were calibrated and validated using measured water contents during infiltration and drainage phases, respectively. The results supported the use of the Arya-Paris pedotransfer function to estimate the wetting curve when contact angles are incorporated. The unique Kozeny-Carmen equation parameter was evaluated by optimizing the estimated saturated hydraulic conductivity. The calibrated numerical model (Hydrus-1D) accurately simulated soil water content profiles and water volumes during the infiltration and drainage phases. The mean error of prediction (MEP) between the measured and estimated soil water contents varied from Á0.030 to 0.010 cm 3 cm (3 , and the standard deviation of prediction (SDP) from 0.003 to 0.057 cm 3 cm (3 . The simulation was improved for more heterogeneous soil profiles when hysteresis was taken into account. The measured and simulated results indicated that the soil profile with vertical heterogeneity in soil texture can store more water than the similar textured vertically homogeneous soils under drained conditions.
    Canadian Journal of Soil Science 05/2011; 91(2). DOI:10.4141/cjss09118 · 1.00 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The objective of this study is to evaluate the potential utility of the USGS Global Data Assimilation System (GDAS) 1-degree, daily reference Evapotranspiration (ET0) products by comparing them with observed Oklahoma mesonet daily ET0 over a 2year period (2005–2006). The comparison showed a close match between the two independent ET0 products, with bias within a range of 10% for most of the sites and the overall bias of − 2.80%. The temporal patterns are strongly correlated, with a correlation coefficient above 0.9 for all groups. In summary, we conclude that (1) the consistent low bias shows the original GDAS ET0 products have high potentials to be used in land surface modeling; (2) the high temporal correlations demonstrate the capability of GDAS ET0 to represent the major atmospheric processes that control the daily variation of surface hydrology; (3) The temporal and spatial correspondences in trend between independent datasets (GDAS and MESONET) were good. The finding in Oklahoma, a different hydro-climate region from a similar regional study conducted in California by Senay et al. (J Am Water Res Assoc 44(4):969–979, 2008), reconfirms the reliability and potential of using GDAS reference ET for regional energy balance and water resources management in many parts of the world. KeywordsEvapotranspiration (ET)–Reference ET–GDAS–Oklahoma MESONET
    Water Resources Management 04/2011; 25(6):1601-1613. DOI:10.1007/s11269-010-9763-0 · 2.46 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Pots used for experiments conducted on plants grown in them create rooting environments that are affected by limited soil volume, which can affect various physiological processes, including transpiration, and plant growth. However, the applicability of results from pot experiments to the field has received limited attention. The objective of this study was to compare the growth and transpiration of maize (Zea mays L.) and winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) when grown in pots and field plots under various constant water deficits. The experiments were conducted under similar environmental conditions for both pots and plots. Transpirational responses at both transient (RTTr) and daily (RDTr) time scales to a decreasing fraction of available soil water (FASW) were analyzed. For a comparable FASW, there was a significant reduction in shoot dry weight and total transpiration for plants in pots compared to those in plots. A parabolic relationship between shoot dry weight and total transpiration existed and was not influenced by soil volume or crop type. The plot experiment data for both crops was consistent with pot data for the response of RDTr and RTTr to changes in FASW, which was represented by a linear-plateau function. However, the threshold values were significantly different for the two time scales. The threshold values and slopes of the linear-plateau function for maize and wheat were not significantly different in the response of RTTr to FASW, but were significantly different in the response of RDTr to FASW. Therefore, the transpirational responses of the selected maize and winter wheat hybrids to soil drought were different at the daily and transient time scales.
    Environmental and Experimental Botany 04/2011; 71(1):65-71. DOI:10.1016/j.envexpbot.2010.10.015 · 3.00 Impact Factor
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    Yuanzhi Wu, Mingbin Huang, Jacques Gallichand
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    ABSTRACT: Soil texture and evaporative demand have been reported to be the main factors which influence the transpirational response to soil water deficits. However, experimental evidences are not enough. The objective of this study was to investigate the transpirational response to soil water availability in soils of different textures under different evaporative demand levels. The three main soils of the Loess Plateau of China (loamy clay, clay loam and sandy loam) were selected and six constant soil water treatments were applied for winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) grown in pots. In order to reduce the influence of environmental conditions and plant factors, a normalized daily transpiration rate was used to develop the relationships with volumetric soil water content and soil water suction. Results showed that, under various levels of evaporative demand, a linear-plateau function with a critical value could be used to describe the dynamic change of the normalized transpiration rate with soil drying. Soil texture significantly influenced both the critical and the slope values of the linear-plateau equations, however, evaporative demand significantly affected the critical values of volumetric soil water content and soil suction for the loamy clay and clay loam only. Therefore, for saving water, different strategies are needed for these three soils.
    Agricultural Water Management 02/2011; 98(4):569-576. DOI:10.1016/j.agwat.2010.10.015 · 2.33 Impact Factor
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    Wei Fu, Mingbin Huang, An Shao, Robert Horton
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    ABSTRACT: Although plant density should affect soil carbon dioxide (CO 2) efflux and carbon cycling in semi-arid regions, the effects of plant density on soil CO 2 efflux are not well known. This study was performed to investigate the responses of soil CO 2 efflux of two dominant shrubs (Caragana korshinkii and Salix psammophila) to plant density in the northern Loess Plateau of China. Two plant density treatments, low and high, were included for C. korshinkii (average 20,000 plants ha -1 and average 66,667 plants ha -1) and S. psammophila (average 9,583 plants ha -1 and average 31,250 plants ha -1). Soil CO 2 efflux was measured every other day with an Ultra-light portable photosynthesis system (CI-340, CID Inc., USA) from July to October 2009. Soil CO 2 efflux with high plant density was significantly larger than that with low plant density for both shrub species. Plant density did not change the temporal pattern of CO 2 efflux during the study period. Our results indicated that root biomass and aboveground biomass were the significant biotic factors mediating the response of soil CO 2 efflux to plant density for the two shrubs. Moreover, both soil water contents in the 0 -6 cm soil layer and in deeper soil layer partly regulated the responses of soil CO 2 efflux to the shrub density treatments in the semi-arid region.
    AFRICAN JOURNAL OF BIOTECHNOLOGY 11/2010; 9:6916-6926. · 0.57 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Evapotranspiration (ET) is deemed critical for water resources management. Even in the same climatic and meteorological conditions, actual ET (ETa) may exhibit remarkable spatial variability across different vegetation covers, agricultural land use practices, and differing types of urban land development. The main objectives of this study are (1) to evaluate the possible closure of the heat balance equation using Oklahoma's unique environmental monitoring network; and (2) to estimate ETa and determine the variation with regards to varying types of land use and land cover in urban settings. In this study, a Surface-Energy-Balance ET algorithm was implemented to estimate ETa at a higher spatial resolution using Landsat 5 satellite images while the Oklahoma Mesonet observations can be used as our ground truth data. Accuracy of the estimated ETa was assessed using latent heat flux measurements provided by AmeriFlux towers. The associated bias ratios of daily mean ETa with respect to both burn and control sites are -0.92%, and -8.86% with a correlation of 0.83 and 0.81, respectively. Additionally, estimated ETa from a water balance budget analysis and the remotely sensed ETa are cross-validated with a low bias ratio of 5.2%, and a correlation coefficient of 0.7 at the catchment scale. The lowest ETa was observed for developed urban areas and highest for open water bodies. The ETa difference is also demonstrated from two contrasting counties. The results show Garfield County (agricultural) has higher ETa values than Oklahoma County (urban) for all land cover types except open water bodies.
    Journal of Applied Remote Sensing 11/2010; 4(1). DOI:10.1117/1.3525566 · 0.89 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Reforestation is a primary end use for reconstructed soils following oil sands mining in northern Alberta, Canada. Limited soil water conditions strongly restrict plant growth. Previous research has shown that layering of sandy soils can produce enhanced water availability for plant growth; however, the effect of gradation on these enhancements is not well defined. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of soil texture (gradation and layering) on plant available water and consequently on forest productivity for reclaimed coarse textured soils. A previously validated system dynamics (SD) model of soil moisture dynamics was coupled with ecophysiological and biogeochemical processes model, Biome-BGC-SD, to simulate forest dynamics for different soil profiles. These profiles included contrasting 50 cm textural layers of finer sand overlying coarser sand in which the sand layers had either a well graded or uniform soil texture. These profiles were compared to uniform profiles of the same sands. Three tree species of jack pine (Pinus banksiana Lamb.), white spruce (Picea glauce Voss.), and trembling aspen (Populus tremuloides Michx.) were simulated using a 50 year climatic data base from northern Alberta. Available water holding capacity (AWHC) was used to identify soil moisture regime, and leaf area index (LAI) and net primary production (NPP) were used as indices of forest productivity. Published physiological parameters were used in the Biome-BGC-SD model. Relative productivity was assessed by comparing model predictions to the measured above-ground biomass dynamics for the three tree species, and was then used to study the responses of forest leaf area index and potential productivity to AWHC on different soil profiles. Simulated results indicated soil layering could significantly increase AWHC in the 1-m profile for coarse textured soils. This enhanced AWHC could result in an increase in forest LAI and NPP. The increased extent varied with soil textures and vegetative types. The simulated results showed that the presence of 50 cm of coarser graded sand overlying 50 cm of finer graded sand is the most effective reclaimed prescription to increase AWHC and forest productivity among the studied soil profiles.
  • Lin Dou, Mingbin Huang, Yang Hong
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    ABSTRACT: The objective of this study was to examine the trends of changes in streamflow in a watershed of the Loess Plateau, where a series of soil conservation measures were implemented since the late 1950s. Both parametric and non-parametric Mann–Kendall test were used to identify the trends in hydrologic variables over the last 50years, and it showed significant downward trends in annual runoff, surface runoff and baseflow. The Pettitt’s test was used to detect the change points of runoff, which occurred in 1973, and the whole 50-year records could be divided into contrast (from 1957 to 1973) and treated (from 1974 to 2006) periods. It was observed that the average annual runoff during treated period reduced by 60%, surface runoff and baseflow reduced by 65% and 55%, respectively in comparing with the contrast period. But the proportion of baseflow to total runoff showed a significant increasing from 0.57 to 0.63. Seasonal runoff also showed decreased trend with the highest reduction occurring in summer and lowest in winter. Annual precipitation in whole period showed no significant trend, so the changes in hydrologic variables were induced by conservation measures. Comparison of the flow duration curves for the two periods showed that reductions in high and low flows varied greatly. Results showed that conservation measures have resulted obvious changes in the hydrologic variables in a watershed of Loess Plateau.
    Water Resources Management 01/2009; 23(10):1935-1949. DOI:10.1007/s11269-008-9361-6 · 2.46 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Water is a key limiting factor for vegetation restoration in the semi-arid areas of China. Caragana korshinkii Kom is a shrub that is widely planted in this region to control soil erosion and land desertification. The objective of this study was to investigate the fine root distribution of mature C. korshinkii and its water consumption, when grown in either silt loam or sandy soils, in order to understand differences between the water cycles of two such soils found in the transition zone between fertile loess hills and desert of the Northern Loess Plateau. Fine root distributions were measured using the trench-profile method. Soil water dynamics were monitored with a neutron probe during two growing seasons. The results showed that fine root area density (FRAD) declined with increasing soil depth in both soils, with 70.7% and 96.6% of the total fine roots being concentrated in the upper 1-m layer of the silt loam and sandy soils, respectively. Water consumption by C. korshinkii in the silt loam was close to that in the sandy soil. Most water consumption in both soil types was from the upper 1-m layer. Little variation in plant available water (PAW) occurred in the 3–6m soil layer during the whole study period. However, in this layer, the PAW was significantly lower in the silt loam soil than in the sandy soil. Total actual evapotranspiration (ETa) was slightly higher from the sandy soil plots than from those of the silt loam soil during both growing seasons. Our study indicated that mature C. korshinkii effectively uses about the same amount of water from either the silt loam or sandy soils, but that more soil water at depth was extracted from silt loam soil than from sandy soil.
    Plant and Soil 01/2009; 315(1):149-161. DOI:10.1007/s11104-008-9739-5 · 3.24 Impact Factor
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    Yushan Li, Mingbin Huang
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    ABSTRACT: For improving soil and water conservation and developing livestock production, an alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) and crop rotation practice has been widely employed in the dryland region of the Loess Plateau in China. This system typically involves establishing alfalfa for 2–10 years, and then removing it by cutting and returning to a cropping rotation for 2–7 years. The length of alfalfa phase is essential for attaining high pasture yield and remaining enough soil water for subsequent crops. To determine the optimal length of alfalfa phase, one continuous growing alfalfa treatment and nine other treatments, including eight alfalfa/crop rotations and a crop/crop rotation, were studied at the Changwu Agri-ecological Station of the Loess Plateau in China from 1985 to 2001. Results showed that alfalfa yield decreased with time at a rate of 0.629 t ha−1 year−1 and soil water storage in the 0–500 cm profile by 33.5 mm year−1. After alfalfa grew for >8 years, its yield responded very vigorously to seasonal precipitation variations, and the yield age coefficient (YAC), which reflects the effects of alfalfa growing age and soil water deficit on pasture yield, was less than 1.0. Our analysis also showed that the average soil water content within the profile from 300 to 1000 cm was less than 0.18 cm3 cm−3, this was determined to be a threshold value for creating a strong water stress to alfalfa growth. Considering all the factors, this study recommends that the optimal length of alfalfa phase in the alfalfa/crop rotation system should not more than 8 years.
    Agriculture Ecosystems & Environment 03/2008; 124(1-2-124):24-32. DOI:10.1016/j.agee.2007.08.007 · 3.20 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

377 Citations
62.79 Total Impact Points


  • 2010–2015
    • University of Saskatchewan
      • Department of Civil and Geological Engineering
      Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
    • Northwest A & F University
      Yang-ling-chen, Shaanxi, China
  • 2010–2011
    • Ministry of Water Resources China
      Peping, Beijing, China
  • 2006–2008
    • Soil & Water Conservation Society
      Northwest Harborcreek, Pennsylvania, United States
  • 2007
    • Laval University
      • Department of Soil and Agri-Food Engineering
      Quebec City, Quebec, Canada
  • 2003–2004
    • Chinese Academy of Sciences
      • Institute of Soil and Water Conservation
      Peping, Beijing, China