UDC 631.4; 574.4
Gobarova A.A., Kazeev K.Sh., Zhadobin A.V., Fedorenko A.N., Kolesnikov S.I. ASSESSING THE IMPACT OF AVIARY HOUSING OF ANIMALS ON THE ECOLOGICAL CONDITION OF SOILS // Arid Ecosystems. 2023. Vol. 29. № 2 (95). P. 109-117. | PDF
The activities of animals have a significant impact on the area of their habitat. The objects under our study are located in the dry steppes zone, the climate of which limits the development of vegetation and contributes to changes in soil characteristics, which, combined with the impact of animals, increases its effect. The aim of our work was to assess the impact of animals on the ecological condition of the soils in the enclosures of the “Wildlife Steppe” Association (orig. “Zhivaya Priroda Stepi”).
During our study, the main indicators of the ecological state of soil in the enclosures with animals, located in the arid area of Rostov Region, were determined. We studied enclosures of different sizes, with common ostriches (Struthio camelus), emus (Dromaius novaehollandiae), goats (Capra sp.), Przewalski’s horses (Equus ferus przevalskii) and saiga antelopes (Saiga tatarica), and the grazing areas of horses (Equus caballus), Bactrian camels (Camelus bactrianus), wild water buffalos (Bubalus arnee), wild yaks (Bos mutus) and guanacos (Lama ganicoe). Level of soil degradation differed from area to area. Soil moisture, temperature, density and texture were determined to assess the physical condition, pH, gross soil chemistry, humus content and biological activity; then the plots were ranked according to the degree of pasture degradation.
The enclosure of common ostriches had the maximum degradation of 10 degrees, characterized by severe vegetation depression and soil battering. The soil density in their enclosure was also the highest and reached 1.49 g/cm3, while the structure was the lowest and reached only 37%. These parameters had a strong negative correlation with hoof and foot pressure on the soil (-0.9). Moisture levels never exceeded 11% in the study areas, although soil enzymatic activity was more influenced by animal excreta than by hydrothermal conditions. In the enclosures with ungulates, goats in particular, catalase and urease activity was always higher than in other plots. There was also a high humus content (10.3%), uncharacteristic for chestnut soils and confirmed by the influence of animals’ activity.
According to the results of our study, the lowest values of structure, humus and biological activity, as well as increased density of soil compaction, were in the enclosure with common ostriches. The findings explain the reduced growth and development of vegetation in the area where the animals were kept in crowded conditions.
Keywords: pasture digression, ecological condition, enzymatic activity, bioindication, content of organic matter, physical properties.
Financing. The research was supported financially by the leading scientific school of Russia “Assessment and Forecast of Soil Conditions under Various Anthropogenic Influences and Climate Change” (NSH-449.2022.5).