Soil microbial communities were studied in the Tatra National Park, which was affected by a windthrow in 2004 and by fire in 2005. The objective of the study was to compare the response of soil microorganisms to different management regimes on disturbed areas and to evaluate the microbial community changes during the period 2006-2013. Soil samples were taken from the A-horizon along 90 m transects on 4 plots (reference intact plot, plot with extracted wood, burnt plot, plot with fallen trees left in situ). Basal and substrateinduced respiration, microbial biomass carbon (C), nitrogen (N) mineralisation, catalase activity, and richness and diversity of microbial functional groups were determined in soil samples using the BIOLOG EcoPlates. Generally, the highest microbial activity and biomass C were revealed at the reference and fire plots. No distinct differences in microbial attributes were found between the extracted and nonextracted plots. At all windthrow plots, substrate-induced respiration, microbial biomass C and N-mineralisation showed a significant increasing linear trend with time what indicates a gradual recovery of microbial community at plots after windthrow.
The aim of the paper is to demonstrate how the beech surface humus form and forest density affect the infiltration and redistribution of rainwater into the soil matrix. Beech as the most-abundant tree species in Slovakia has a tendency to form a compact humus layer with specific structure, leading to a reduction in the soil surface infiltration area and a significant influence on the preferential flow generation. The research was carried out in beech forests with different forest stand density in the Vtáčnik Mountain (Central Slovakia). The maximal infiltration surface area 35.11 ± 6.58% of sand surface infiltration area was reached at the plot A (0.8). The minimal infiltration surface area was reached at the plot B (0.8) and was 19.45 ± 2.52%. Statistical tests confirmed a significant effect of the forest stand density on the surface infiltration area (p = 0.05) and number of infiltration inputs (p = 0.05). The results show a statistically significant influence of surface humus form and stand density on infiltration and redistribution of rainwater into the soil matrix. The influence results in water flow changes from matrix flow to preferential flow and fingering. As a consequence deeper infiltration of water and solutions, e. g. dissolved organic carbon, to deeper soil layers is observed.
Soil organic carbon (SOC) in agricultural land forms part of the global terrestrial carbon cycle and it affects atmospheric carbon dioxide balance. SOC is sensitive to local agricultural management practices that sum up into regional SOC storage dynamics. Understanding regional carbon emission and sequestration trends is, therefore, important in formulating and implementing climate change adaptation and mitigation policies. In this study, the estimation of SOC stock and regional storage dynamics in the Ondavská Vrchovina region (North-Eastern Slovakia) cropland and grassland topsoil between 1970 and 2013 was performed with the RothC model and gridded spatial data on weather, initial SOC stock and historical land cover and land use changes. Initial SOC stock in the 0.3-m topsoil layer was estimated at 38.4 t ha−1 in 1970. The 2013 simulated value was 49.2 t ha−1, and the 1993–2013 simulated SOC stock values were within the measured data range. The total SOC storage in the study area, cropland and grassland areas, was 4.21 Mt in 1970 and 5.16 Mt in 2013, and this 0.95 Mt net SOC gain was attributed to inter-conversions of cropland and grassland areas between 1970 and 2013, which caused different organic carbon inputs to the soil during the simulation period with a strong effect on SOC stock temporal dynamics.