Current issue: 53(4)
One-hectare plot in a Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) forest was systemically sampled for surface soil characteristics: humus layer thickness, soil carbon and nitrogen content, pH, electrical conductivity and respiration were determined from 106 samples. The effects of large trees on the plot were mapped and their joint influences at the locations of soil sampling were described as the influence potential, derived from the ecological field theory, and were calculated based on the locations and dimensions of trees.
The range of variation of soil characteristics was from three to sevenfold; no spatial autocorrelation was detected. The calculated influence potential of trees, as determined by their size and spatial distribution, was related to the spatial variation of top soil properties. Top soil properties were also related to thickness of the humus layer but they were poorly correlated with underlying mineral soil characteristics. Humus layer thickness, with the calculated influence potential of trees, may provide a means to predict top soil characteristics in specific microenvironments in the forest floor.
Relationships between bulk density and organic matter (OM) content, textural properties and depth are described for forested mineral soils from Central and Northern Finland. Core samples were taken of 0–5, 30–35 and 60–65 cm layers at 75 plots. Three measures of bulk density were calculated: the bulk density of the < 20 mm fraction (BD20), the bulk density of the < 2 mm fraction (BD2), and laboratory bulk density (BDl). BDl was determined from the mass of a fixed volume of < 2 mm soil taken in the laboratory. All three measures of bulk densities were strongly correlated with organic matter content (r ≥ -0.63). Depth and gravel (2–20 mm) content (in the case of BD2) were also important variables. BDl was sensitive to clay contents > 7% but did significantly improve the prediction of both BD2 and BD20 in coarse soils (clay contents ≤ 7%). Predictive models were derived for coarse soils.
The aims of the present study were to determine physical and physio-chemical properties of some Finnish forest tree nursery soils, and to examine relationships between these properties and the amount of organic matter in the soil.
The following soil tillage layer properties of 33 fields belonging to 8 forest tree nurseries were determined: soil particle size distribution, organic matter content, bulk density and density of solids, total pore space, soil water volume at potentials pF 2.0 and 4.2, available water content and air space at potential pF 2.0, active acidity, electrical conductivity index and cation exchange capacities at pH 4.5 and 8.0. The soil texture class of the tillage layer parent material was sand, only in a few cases did higher percentage of silt and clay indicate a morainic nature of parent material. The amount of organic material in the soils varied within wide limits, reflecting differences in amelioration policy between the single nurseries.
Relationships between the physical properties of the soil parent material and those related to fertility were in most cases strongly influenced by the amount of soil organic matter. Soil density values decreased as the organic matter content increased from 2 to 25%, giving rise to the increase in the total pore space. However, the amount of water held at potential pF 2.0 and the available water content did not increase with increasing organic matter content. This was due to the absence of the particle fraction in the sand. Nursery soil amelioration, involving in most cases a mixture of Sphagnum peat with sand, thus gives rise to an increase in the content of drainable water.
Cation exchange capacities were positively correlated with the organic matter content. However, the absolute number of exchange sites expressed as equivalents in the tillage layer did not increase in accordance with the increase in organic matter content due to the influence of the organic matter content upon the ratio of solids in the voids.
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