Variations of soil physicochemical properties and vegetation cover under different altitudinal gradient, western Hyrcanean forest, north of Iran

https://doi.org/10.17221/136/2019-JFSCitation:Pourbabaei H., Salehi A., Ebrahimi S.S., Khodaparast F. (2020): Variations of soil physicochemical properties and vegetation cover under different altitudinal gradient, western Hyrcanean forest, north of Iran. J. For. Sci., 66: 159-169.
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This study was done to quantify the amount of soil organic matter and to evaluate physicochemical properties and vegetation cover changes along the altitudinal gradient. Nine altitudinal transects were selected from 100 m a.s.l. to 1 700 m a.s.l. Then, 160 circular plots of 1 000 m2 area with a distance of 150 m from each other were studied. Soil texture, bulk density, particle density, soil base saturation, phosphorus and potassium values did not indicate any specific variation pattern. Whereas pH decreased powerfully, the highest and the lowest value of pH was measured at 100 m a.s.l. and 1 700 m a.s.l., respectively. Soil organic carbon content increased significantly with increasing altitude (P ≤ 0.01). Density of trees decreased dramatically from 100 to 900 m a.s.l., whereas this trend was ascending from 1 100 to 1 700 m a.s.l. Density of shrub species increased with increasing altitude along the gradient and the highest value was revealed at 1 300 m a.s.l. The highest percentage of herbaceous species cover was found at a lower altitude and a decreasing trend was found along the altitudinal gradient.

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