This study examines the pedogenic processes and temporal changes occurring in soils across six different aged plantations of Corsican pine (Pinus nigra), which were otherwise similar in their environmental characteristics, including geology, slope angle and aspect, altitude and land use history. A representative soil profile was sampled, on a horizon basis, and a further 10 topsoil samples were collected, on a grid basis, from each plantation. Properties determined in the laboratory included pH, organic carbon content, particle size distribution, exchangeable base content (Ca, Mg, K, Na), total free and organically-bound iron content, and lead and zinc concentrations. Morphological and chemical changes within the soil profiles were examined to shed light on the processes and pathways of soil formation, and one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to compare topsoil characteristics between the different plantations. Morphological and chemical changes within the soil profiles indicated that organic matter accumulation and mor humus formation, acidification, clay translocation (lessivage) and incipient podzolisation were the dominant pedogenic processes. There are very few systematic age-related changes in soil morphological or physical and chemical characteristics, possibly due to a combination of young stand ages, high topsoil variability, soil mixing due to drainage operations and silvicultural practices. There are, however, a number of statistically significant but non-systematic differences in soil properties between the different aged plantation blocks. Possible associations between these differences and age-related litter production and root growth, and silvicultural operations such as understory control, plantation thinning and selective harvesting are explored.
|Place of Publication||Newcastle upon Tyne|
|Publication status||In preparation - Oct 2008|