Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems

, Volume 88, Issue 3, pp 329–339 | Cite as

Quantification of symbiotic nitrogen fixation by Elaeagnus angustifolia L. on salt-affected irrigated croplands using two 15N isotopic methods

  • D. DjumaevaEmail author
  • J. P. A. Lamers
  • C. Martius
  • A. Khamzina
  • N. Ibragimov
  • P. L. G. Vlek
Original Article


Afforestation with fast growing N-fixing trees is an option for ecological restoration of highly-salinized irrigated croplands, but information about the N-fixing capability of trees on saline soils is sparse. The 15N-enrichment technique (15NET) and the A value (AV) method were used to quantify in lysimeters the proportion of atmospheric N2 (%Ndfa) fixed by Elaeagnus angustifolia L., with a reference to non-N-fixing Gleditsia triacanthos L. and Ulmus pumila L. Twenty kg N ha−1 of 5 atom %15N excess ammonium nitrate (35% N) was applied to 1-year-old trees in 2007 and 2-year-olds in 2008. Since this rate was insufficient for the older reference trees, 60 kg N ha−1 was applied in 2008. With 15NET, the %Ndfa of E. angustifolia in 2007 was 79% when referenced against U. pumila and 68% against G. triacanthos. With the AV method, the %Ndfa of 2-year-old E. angustifolia was 80 and 68% when referenced against U. pumila and G. triacanthos, respectively. Over 2 years, E. angustifolia fixed 17 kg N ha−1 when related to U. pumila and 14 kg N ha−1 with G. triacanthos (assumed density: 5,000 trees ha−1). N-fixing E. angustifolia has the potential to be self-sufficient in N when planted in the strongly saline soils.


Atom %15N excess BNF Lysimeters Labeling method Soil fertility Uzbekistan 



The German Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF; project number 0339970D) supported this study. Additional funds from DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) to the first author are gratefully acknowledged. The research was conducted at the premises of the Urgench State University in Khorezm within the framework of the ZEF/UNESCO Landscape Restructuring Project. The authors thank two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments on an earlier version of this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. Djumaeva
    • 1
    Email author
  • J. P. A. Lamers
    • 1
  • C. Martius
    • 2
  • A. Khamzina
    • 1
  • N. Ibragimov
    • 3
  • P. L. G. Vlek
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for Development Research (ZEF)BonnGermany
  2. 2.Inter-American Institute for Global Change Research (IAI)Sao Jose dos CamposBrazil
  3. 3.ZEF/UNESCOKhorezmUzbekistan

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