Decay and erosion-related transport of sulfur compounds in soils of rubber based agroforestry
Elemental sulfur is intensively used to control weeds and rubber leaf diseases. However, the mechanisms contributing to elemental sulfur dissipation and decay (here after decay) in rubber agroforestry remains unclear. This study relates hydrological processes such as runoff and soil loss to the changes in soil total sulfur (Stot) and sulfate (S-SO4) in typical hillslope rubber agroforestry intercropped with cocoa in Xishuangbanna. The elemental sulfur decay kinetics were studied at two slopes (top and bottom) and three agrosystems (weed, no-weed and mixed). The results show that soil moisture and hydraulic conductivity was uniformly distributed in the experimental rubber agroforestry settings. Higher soil loss and runoff occurred in the bottom slope than the top slope, and in no-weed agrosystem than the herbaceous agrosystems (weed and mixed). The soil loss was mainly driven by runoff. Moreover, Stot and S-SO4 in runoff water were higher in weed agrosystem than no-weed agrosystems. Soil Stot best fit a two-compartments kinetics model, with lower kinetic rates in elemental sulfur applied treatments than in the no-added elemental sulfur treatments, particularly for the weed agrosystem. The soil Stot dissipation time 50 % (DT50) was 10 to 14 times higher in top slope than bottom slope; but 4 and 20 times higher in mixed and no-weed agrosystems, respectively, compared to the weed agrosystem. The soil Stot and S-SO4 contents negatively correlated with soil microbial respiration (CO2 efflux), indicating an adverse influence of elemental sulfur on soil microbial activity. In short, elemental sulfur decay and its S-SO4 transformation depended on soil moisture, runoff, soil erosion and soil CO2, which are in turn affected by slope and agrosystem. This study not only clarifies the mechanisms of elemental sulfur dissipation and decay for its use as an environmentally friendly agrochemical; but it also provides information to understand the contribution of runoff and soil loss on these mechanisms in rubber agroforestry.
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|| Liu WJ; Jiang XJ|
||Journal of Environmental Management|
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