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Sci Rep. 2019 Oct 2;9(1):14186. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-50475-8.

Effects of mulching on soil CO2 fluxes, hay yield and nutritional yield in a forage maize field in Northwest China.

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College of Agronomy, Gansu Agricultural University, Lanzhou, 730070, China.
College of Grassland Science, Gansu Agricultural University, Lanzhou, 730070, China.
College of Agronomy, Gansu Agricultural University, Lanzhou, 730070, China.


In arid areas of China, water shortage and heavy carbon emissions have been threatening agricultural sustainability and which has become a vital issue. A field experiment was conducted to explore how different mulching affects soil moisture and temperature, CO2 fluxes, forage-maize hay yield and nutritional value during 2 consecutive years: 2014 and 2015. The field experiment showed that mulching materials had distinct effects on soil moisture and temperature and CO2 fluxes. The soil temperature and CO2 fluxes were in order of common plastic film mulching (PFM) > bio-degradable mulch mulching (BMM) > no mulching (CK) > straw mulching (SM), while the soil moisture was in order of PFM > BMM > SM > CK over these two years. Compared with CK, hay yield respectively increased by 23.25%, 22.51% and 5.27% for PFM, BMM and SM, WUE increased by 35.60%, 32.34% and 10.88%, and the total nutrient yields increased by 17.75%, 21.35% and 6.95%, respectively. To sum up, in combination with ecology and environmental protection, bio-degradable mulch could replace common plastic film and bio-degradable mulch should be popular in future. As bio-degradable mulch is green non-pollution, it is conducive to the sustainable development of agricultural ecosystem.

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