Soil Heterogeneity Reflected in Biogeography of Beech Forests in the Borderland Between the Bohemian Massif and the Outer Western Carpathians

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Soil environment characteristics naturally affect the biogeographical classification of forests in central Europe. However, even on the same localities, different systems of vegetation classification de-scribe the forest types according to the naturally dominant tree species with different accuracy. A set of 20 representative natural beech stands in the borderland between the Bohemian Massif (Hercyni-an biogeographical subprovince) and the Outer Western Carpathians (Westcarpathian subprovince) was selected in order to compare textural, hydrostatic, physico-chemical and chemical properties of soils between the included geomorphological regions, bioregions and biotopes. Differences in the soils of the surveyed beech stands were mainly due to volume weight and specific weight, maximum capillary capacity (MCC), porosity, base saturation (BS), total soil nitrogen (Nt) and fulvic acids. Specifics in the relations between these soil characteristics indicated that transient trans-Hercynian beech forests developed in the borderland between the two compared subprovinces. Soils of the investigated Hercynian beech forests were generally characterized by lower BS and lower Nt. Soils of the trans-Hercynian beech forests were more similar to the Carpathian beech forest soils than soils in the other Hercynian beech forests. Soils of the trans-Hercynian and Carpathian beech forests showed similarly higher BS, deeper occurrence of humic substances, lower specific weight and also higher MCC. Higher content of humic substances as well as MCC indicated an equal effect on forest ecology, which may contribute to more accurate classification of forests.

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