|Title||Effects of organic amendments on soil biota on a degraded rangeland|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||1989|
|Authors||Whitford, WG, Aldon, EF, Freckman, DW, Steinberger, Y, Parker, LW|
Rehabilitation of degraded rangeland requires rebuilding the soil, including soil biota. In this study wheat straw, bark and wood chips, and dried municipal sludge were placed on native range plots in northcentral New Mexico. Organic amendments had little or no effects of decomposition of straw, litter respiration, soil respiration, biomass of soil microflora, and populations of most of the soil biota in the second year of the study. The differences in soil nematode and microarthropod population densities and straw decomposition occurred only in the bark and wood chip mulched plots in year 1. The absence of differences in year 2 may have been the result of below-average rainfall. The wood chip bark mulch was visibly present at the end of year 2 but the other mulches were not. There may be long-term benefits from application of recalcitrant mulches like wood chips and bark, but the less recalcitrant mulching like straw and low application rates of sludge produce no measurable benefit.