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Forest floor and soil properties in different development stages of Oriental beech forests


Kooch, Yahya; Parsapour, Mohammad Kazem; Egli, Markus; Moghimian, Negar (2021). Forest floor and soil properties in different development stages of Oriental beech forests. Applied Soil Ecology, 161:103823.

Abstract

Native to Eurasia, Eastern Europe, and Western Asia, Oriental beech (Fagus orientalis Lipsky) stands extend from the north-western part of Turkey, the eastern part of the Caucasus Mountains in Georgia and Russia to the Alborz Mountains in Iran. The effect of different development stages of beech stands on the forest floor and soil characteristics are so far almost unknown. For this purpose, the Langa forest that is located in northern Iran was investigated to detect the effect of forest development on major traits of soil biology and related soil characteristics. For this aim, 45 forest floors and soil samples (15 samples per each development stage i.e. initial, optimal, and decay stage) were analysed. In addition, the water content, temperature, and biological dynamics were monitored over the different development stages in summer and fall. Among the considered independent factors, the development stage of beech had the largest explanatory power for the variations of the soil water content (34.7%), total earthworm density and biomass (29.6% and 32.3%, respectively), Acarina (30.3%), nematode (64.3%), protozoa (57.7%), bacteria, (62.8%), fungi (59.5%), basal respiration (53.0%), substrate-induced respiration (53.8%), microbial biomass carbon (30.4%), microbial biomass nitrogen (36.0%), microbial biomass phosphorous (59.1%) and net nitrification rate (19.1%). Soil temperature (42.5%), collembola density (18.2%), net ammonification rate (29.9%), and net N mineralization rate (2.1%) were predominantly determined by the seasons. With the ageing of the forest stands, soil fertility, biota abundance, and soil function were enhanced. To figure out the most vital soil features affecting C and N sequestrations, a stepwise regression model was applied. Carbon sequestration correlated positively to N, the C/N ratio, and negatively to porosity, and the nematode abundance. In addition, nitrogen sequestration correlated positively to C, the sand content, and fine root biomass and negatively to the C/N ratio, soil porosity, and aggregate stability. Although all forest stages of the Oriental beech have an important ecological role and their place in the evolutionary process, the old-growth (i.e. decay) stage is especially important for the soil functions exhibiting the highest fertility and biological relevance. The understanding of ecological changes within different development stages can be helpful in forest management and the evaluation of silvicultural methods.

Abstract

Native to Eurasia, Eastern Europe, and Western Asia, Oriental beech (Fagus orientalis Lipsky) stands extend from the north-western part of Turkey, the eastern part of the Caucasus Mountains in Georgia and Russia to the Alborz Mountains in Iran. The effect of different development stages of beech stands on the forest floor and soil characteristics are so far almost unknown. For this purpose, the Langa forest that is located in northern Iran was investigated to detect the effect of forest development on major traits of soil biology and related soil characteristics. For this aim, 45 forest floors and soil samples (15 samples per each development stage i.e. initial, optimal, and decay stage) were analysed. In addition, the water content, temperature, and biological dynamics were monitored over the different development stages in summer and fall. Among the considered independent factors, the development stage of beech had the largest explanatory power for the variations of the soil water content (34.7%), total earthworm density and biomass (29.6% and 32.3%, respectively), Acarina (30.3%), nematode (64.3%), protozoa (57.7%), bacteria, (62.8%), fungi (59.5%), basal respiration (53.0%), substrate-induced respiration (53.8%), microbial biomass carbon (30.4%), microbial biomass nitrogen (36.0%), microbial biomass phosphorous (59.1%) and net nitrification rate (19.1%). Soil temperature (42.5%), collembola density (18.2%), net ammonification rate (29.9%), and net N mineralization rate (2.1%) were predominantly determined by the seasons. With the ageing of the forest stands, soil fertility, biota abundance, and soil function were enhanced. To figure out the most vital soil features affecting C and N sequestrations, a stepwise regression model was applied. Carbon sequestration correlated positively to N, the C/N ratio, and negatively to porosity, and the nematode abundance. In addition, nitrogen sequestration correlated positively to C, the sand content, and fine root biomass and negatively to the C/N ratio, soil porosity, and aggregate stability. Although all forest stages of the Oriental beech have an important ecological role and their place in the evolutionary process, the old-growth (i.e. decay) stage is especially important for the soil functions exhibiting the highest fertility and biological relevance. The understanding of ecological changes within different development stages can be helpful in forest management and the evaluation of silvicultural methods.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
Dewey Decimal Classification:910 Geography & travel
Scopus Subject Areas:Physical Sciences > Ecology
Life Sciences > Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
Life Sciences > Soil Science
Uncontrolled Keywords:Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous), Ecology, Soil Science
Language:English
Date:1 May 2021
Deposited On:07 Jan 2021 12:49
Last Modified:25 Jan 2024 02:43
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0929-1393
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apsoil.2020.103823