Effect of land use on soil chemical properties after 190 years of forest to agricultural land conversion

https://doi.org/10.17221/5/2018-SWRCitation:Zajícová K., Chuman T. (2019): Effect of land use on soil chemical properties after 190 years of forest to agricultural land conversion. Soil & Water Res., 14: 121-131.
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Land use changes have a significant impact on soil properties and in some cases they are considered to be among the main threats to soil quality. The present study focuses on the relationship between soil chemistry and land use in a karstic region in Romania, where forests were converted to agricultural land 190 years ago by Czech settlers in the Banat Region. Out of several villages founded by the Czech settlers the study was done around the village of Sfinta Elena. The uniqueness of this study is that traditional agricultural practices using low intensity farming (fallow period, organic fertilizers) have been used continuously since the village was founded. Nowadays the landscape is a mosaic of different land uses. Sixty soil samples from 6 land uses, analysed for pH (active and exchangeable), total cation exchange capacity (CEC), base saturation, amount of Ca2+, Mg2+, K+, accessible P, total N, and soil organic carbon, showed very low concentrations of analysed elements and very low values of CEC and base saturation in soils. Current arable land use exhibited the lowest values especially of soil organic C. Surprisingly, forest soils differed significantly from agricultural soils only in C/N ratio and soil organic C concentration.

 

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