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Ewa Błońska, Jarosław Lasota and Maciej Zwydak

Abstract

The aim of this study was to assess the effects of different types of land use (forest, tillage and pasture) on soil properties, especially enzyme activity. Our investigation was carried out on 53 research plots with 11 plots in broadleaved forest stands, 12 plots in mixed broadleaved stands, 10 plots in mixed coniferous stands, 9 plots on tillage and 11 plots on pasture. The soil samples were collected from a depth of 0–15 cm after removing the organic horizon. Contents of organic carbon and nitrogen, pH and soil texture were investigated. Furthermore, dehydrogenase and urease activity were determined. Significant differences in the enzyme activity between forest and agricultural soils were observed, thus demonstrating that enzyme activity is influenced by the organic matter content of the soil. The highest enzyme activity was recorded in the forest soil within broadleaved stands, whilst the lowest activity was found in tillage soil, because tillage soil contained significantly less organic matter. High enzymatic activity of pasture soils is the combined result of vegetation type and the lack of plowing.

Open access

Jarosław Lasota, Ewa Błońska, Tomasz Wanic and Maciej Zwydak

Abstract

The subject of this study were soil requirements of common woody shrubs, which may be part of the forest understory (Sorbus aucuparia L., Frangula alnus Mill., Corylus avellana L., Juniperus communis L., Padus avium Mill., Euonymus europaea L., Sambucus nigra L.). We focused on phytocenoses in the vicinity of natural forests in reserves and national parks of Polish lowlands and defined optimal types and subtypes of soil with trophic variations for each underwood species. The range of trophism for each species of shrub was determined using specific physicochemical properties of the soils, while soil quality was assessed using the Trophic Soil Index (SIG) (Brożek et al. 2011a). The ecological requirements of the before-mentioned underwood species were linked with forest typology as well as natural vegetation and they showed different soil requirements. Here we report significant differences in particle size and dynamics of organic matter decomposition in soils associated with these underwood species.

Open access

Jarosław Lasota, Ewa Błońska, Maciej Zwydak and Tomasz Wanic

Abstract

The physical and chemical properties of soil are the basic features that are used in the assessment of mountain sites. The aim of this study was to produce a simple key for classifying forest sites in mountain areas using soil particle size distribution. 200 plots (standard typological space) were selected for examination, most of which are typical of the Carpathians - being dominated by flysch rock. A few plots were located in the Sudety and Tatra Mountains, which have a different surface geology, mostly metamorphic rock and granite. The study proved that soil properties (reaction, base saturation, content of base cations, organic carbon and nitrogen) are helpful in distinguishing and assigning soils to particular site types. The particle size distribution of forest mountain sites separated into different categories in terms of productivity. These results can be used to improve the classification of forest mountain sites.

Open access

Ewa Błońska, Jarosław Lasota, Maciej Zwydak and Wojciech Piaszczyk

Abstract

In this research study, enzyme activity was used to assess differences occurring in soils as a result of the different tree species influence. The aim of the study was to assess the effects of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris), sessile oak (Quercus petraea) and mixed-species stands on the enzymatic activity and chemical characteristics of soil. Sample plots were located in central Poland, in the Przedbórz forest district (51.09.59.50°N, 20.00.24.25°E). The test area was dominated by Brunic Arenosols. 15 research plots were established (5 plots under pine, 5 plots under oak and 5 plots under mixed-species stand). Soil samples from the O, A and AB horizons were taken. In soil samples pH, soil texture, and organic carbon, nitrogen, base cation contents, dehydrogenase activity and urease activity were determined. Tree species affected soil organic matter accumulation, pH and microbial activity. The highest enzyme activity was reported in the soils under oak and mixed-species stands. The soil pH was lower under pine forest than under oak and mixed-species stands. pHs is presumably a major factor affecting microbial community composition and enzyme dynamics. We noted a significant correlation between enzyme activity and C/N ratio which is often used to describe litter quality. A lower C/N ratio was found in oak and mixed-species stands compared with pine stands.