Case Study 14: Gongzhuling, Jilin, China

Responsible partner: 18 - IARRP

1. Geographical description
The Gongzhuling site, established in 1990 by the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, is located in a long-term black soil experimental station, Siping City within the Jilin province (124°48′33.9″ E, 43°30′23″N) (Figure 24). Jilin province is one of three provinces in North-East China’s Three Province region (i.e. Heilongjiang, Jilin and Liaoning). The North-East Three Province is known for its substantial coverage of forests and a vast area of black soils (10 million hm2), which supports timber production and industry and high soil productivity. This region experiences a temperate sub-humid climate, with mean annual temperature of 4-5 °C, effective accumulated temperature of 2600-3000 °C and rainfall of 450-600 mm.


Figure 24. Location of Gongzhuling, China.

2. Main farming systems and typical agricultural management activities in the study area
Climatic and soil characteristics accompanied by high demand for productivity of crops in the last three decades have greatly favoured the extensive growth of maize in the area providing higher yield. Other local cropping systems include Maize-Soybean rotation. High amounts of fertilizers have been applied in the last two decades in order to maintain high soil fertility. Although farmers have realized the adverse effects of over fertilization on the environment, the amount of applied fertilizers have decreased gradually, the relatively low cost of fertilizers and extremely high demand for agricultural productivity, the typical agricultural management activities always adopt intensive chemical fertilizers and manure application. Intensification of agriculture resulted in accelerated rates of soil erosion and rapid loss of indigenous surface organic carbon rich soils in this historically known fertile region. The organic farming and the integrated land management practice have been established in some areas for the protection of soil quality and preservation of ecosystem functions.

3. Characteristic soils and soil quality monitoring practice
The soils of Gongzhuling display a relatively homogeneous degree of development. Mollisols are widely represented in the region, covering more than half of the total area. Soils have been formed based on the Quaternary loess sediment parent material. Mineral composition is primarily composed of smectite, mica, and vermiculite. Soil texture is characterized as clay loam with these soils containing high organic carbon content and available nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium).
Existing practices can be characterized as positive or negative in soil quality monitoring. The following practices are mainly applied in the area of Gongzhuling: (a) intensive cultivation of the land accompanied by ploughing and application of fertilizers and pesticides (negative), and (b) animal manure application (positive). Intensive cultivation is widely distributed in the area and has primarily negative impacts leading to problems of soil erosion, ground water pollution, deterioration of soil physical and chemical properties (decrease in soil organic matter content, soil aggregate stability deterioration).

4. Ongoing research and innovation actions on soil improvement and monitoring
The following research or actions on soil improvement and monitoring are or were undertaken in Gongzhuling:

  • Research on fertility and maize yield improvement and integrated technology (Heilongjiang Academy of Agricultural Sciences)
  • Research on soil fertility characteristics and integrative technology of fertility cultivation and improvement (Jilin Academy of Agricultural Sciences)
  • Research on long-term Black soil fertility and fertilizer efficiency field monitoring network (Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences)
  • Regulation pathway and mechanism of carbon and nitrogen in plough layer soils of dense-plantation and high productivity spring maize (China Agricultural University)
  • Research on soil animal community and characteristics in cultivated black soil under external disturbances of C and N (Chinese Academy of Forestry Sciences)

5. Stakeholders to be included in the research

  • Jilin Academy of Agricultural Sciences
  • CAAS – Institute of Agricultural Resources and Regional Planning
  • Municipality of Siping City, Jilin Province
  • China Agricultural University
  • Heilongjiang Academy of Agricultural Sciences
  • Chinese Academy of Forestry Sciences

6. References
Kou TJ, Zhu P, Huang S, Zhang WJ. 2012. Effects of long-term cropping regimes on soil carbon sequestration and aggregate composition in rainfed farmland of Northeast China. Soil and Tillage Research 118: 132–138.
Liu Y, Peng C, Zhang HM, Zhang WJ, Xu MG. 2011. Soil organic matter content and characteristics under long-term different fertilizations. China Soil and Fertilizer 2011(5): 7-11 (in Chinese).
Lin YH, Huang QH, Liu H, Peng C, Zhu P, Zhang FD. 2010. Effects of long-term fertilization on soil animal community and diversity. China Agricultural Science 43: 2261-2269 (in Chinese).
Chen Y, Yan Y, Zhag ML, He HB, Xie HT, Zhang XD, Zhu P. 2008. Effects of long-term fertilization on black soil aggregation, carbon and nitrogen concentrations. Chinese Journal of Soil Science 39: 1288-1291 (in Chinese).

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