Geoderma, 01 July 2017, Vol.297, pp.61-69
The use of heavy machinery for timber harvesting causes soil damage, which may restrict forest soil functions over decades. Numerous studies have demonstrated the negative impact of soil compaction on soil physical properties, but the effects of compaction of forest soils on soil chemical and biological processes like the phosphorus availability are largely unknown. Aim of our study was to analyze the effect of skidding activity on the P dynamics on skid trails and the soil recovery ability after skidding. Furthermore, we wanted to assess if acid phosphatase activity is an appropriate indicator of soil structure damage after compaction. We investigated the phosphorus availability, acid phosphatase activity, TOC, pH value, and fine root density of soil samples from skid trails and from control plots without any skidding effect. We conducted our studies at three sites (Göttingen: Cambisols on limestone, Heide: Podzol on glacial drift and sand, and Solling: Cambisols at loess-covered sandstone) in Lower Saxony, Germany 10 to 40 years after last traffic impact in a space-for-time substitution. We observed mainly higher P concentrations and higher pH values at the wheel tracks than in the control. TOC was predominantly higher at the wheel tracks, but lower TOC at the wheel tracks was also found. In the acidic loams of the Solling region, the amount of mineralized phosphate was much higher in the tracks compared to the control areas 10 to 30 years after last traffic impact. This suggests a decoupling of P mineralization from P uptake in the wheel tracks for several decades. Furthermore, higher as well as lower phosphatase activity at the wheel tracks compared to the untrafficked control was found, but higher phosphatase activities at the wheel tracks were predominant. Acid phosphatase activity was strongly correlated with TOC, but did not correlate with the time since last traffic impact and the gas diffusivity of the soil. Therefore, our results did not confirm that acid phosphatase activity is an appropriate soil biological indicator of soil compaction and structural recovery.
Acid Phosphatase Activity ; P Availability ; Soil Compaction ; Soil Structure Recovery ; Agriculture
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