Assessment of reclamation treatments of abandoned farmland in an arid region of China

Haichang Yang, Fenghua Zhang*, Yun Chen, Tingbao Xu, Zhibo Cheng, Jing Liang

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    23 Citations (Scopus)


    Reclamation of abandoned farmland is crucial to a sustainable agriculture in arid regions. This study aims to evaluate the impact of different reclamation treatments on abandoned salinized farmland. We investigated four artificial reclamation treatments, continuous cotton (CC), continuous alfalfa (CA), tree-wheat intercropping (TW) and trees (TS), which were conducted in 2011-2012 in the Manasi River Basin of Xinjiang Province, China. Soil nutrient, microorganism and enzyme activity were examined in comparison with natural succession (CK) in an integrated analysis on soil fertility improvement and soil salinization control with these reclamations. Results indicate that the four artificial reclamation treatments are more effective approaches than natural restoration to reclaim abandoned farmland. TW and CA significantly increased soil nutrient content compared to CK. CC reduced soil salinity to the lowest level among all treatments. TW significantly enhanced soil enzyme activity. All four artificial reclamations increased soil microbial populations and soil microbial biomass carbon. TW and CA had the greatest overall optimal effects among the four treatments in terms of the ecological outcomes. If both economic benefits and ecological effects are considered, TW would be the best reclamation mode. The findings from this study will assist in selecting a feasible method for reclamation of abandoned farmland for sustainable agriculture in arid regions..

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number1183
    JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
    Issue number11
    Publication statusPublished - 16 Nov 2016


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