Road salts effects on soil chemical and microbial properties at grassland and forest site in protected natural areas

https://doi.org/10.17221/5994-PSECitation:Hofman J., Trávníčková E., Anděl P. (2012):   Road salts effects on soil chemical and microbial properties at grassland and forest site in protected natural areas. Plant Soil Environ., 58: 282-288.
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Road salting is used as a dominant way to keep road safety in winter, even in the protected natural areas. In our study, possible effects of winter road salting on soil microorganisms in close road vicinity were investigated. Soil chemical and microbial properties were monitored at a forest site in the Krkonoše Mountains national park and at a grassland site in the Kokořínsko protected landscape area (both located in the Czech Republic) in two sampling campaigns (autumn and spring). Effects of road salting on soil chemical properties (Na+ and Cl levels, pH, base saturation etc.) were clearly apparent at both sites. The most affected plots were 1 and 5 m from the road (increased pH, base saturation, and Na+ accumulation). At these plots, changes of microbial parameters were observed in both autumn and spring sampling, which suggested influence of salts. Increased value of metabolic quotient (qCO2) indicated stress and potential ammonification was inhibited even 5 m from the road at the forest site. Hence, possible influence on soil biological quality should be considered when assessing the ecological risks of this kind of road treatment, especially in natural protected areas.  
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