Impact of ectohumus application in birch and pine nurseries on the presence of soil mites (Acari), Oribatida in particular

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Intensively used forest nurseries are characterised by degradation processes that lead to a drop in the quality of seedlings. The main reason of this problem is a decrease in biological soil diversity. Therefore, an attempt of nursery soil enrichment by introducing ectohumus – as compost and fresh litter – from the pine forest was carried out. The research was carried out in 2009–2011 in the Bielawy forest nursery near the city of Toruń, Poland. The objective of the study was to determine the impact of organic fertilisation (compost made up of forest humus) and mulching using fresh ectohumus on the density and community composition of Acari mites and on species composition of oribatid mites (Oribatida) in the nurseries of silver birch and Scots pine. Mites, especially oribatid mites, were treated as bioindicators of soil biological activity. Research has shown that mulching using fresh ectohumus caused a multiple increase in the density of mites, especially in saprophagous mites Oribatida. Oribatid mites were clearly more numerous in birch cultivation than in that of pine. Overall, 27 species of oribatid mites were found. Mulching resulted in a significant growth in species diversity in both cultivations. The most numerous oribatid mite in the area under the study was Oribatula tibialis. This species was present in all plots and showed clear preference for birch cultivation. Tectocepheus velatus and Oppiella nova, common and known to be present in a variety of environments, were slightly less numerous.

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Folia Forestalia Polonica

Seria A - Forestry; The Journal of Forest Research Institute

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