Altitude and forest type effects on soils in the Jizera Mountains region

https://doi.org/10.17221/2114-SWRCitation:Pavlů L., Borůvka L., Nikodem A., Rohošková M., Penížek V. (2007): Altitude and forest type effects on soils in the Jizera Mountains region. Soil & Water Res., 2: 35-44.
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This paper is focused on the Jizera Mountains as a region strongly influenced by man in the past. The structure of the natural forest was changed. Species monocultures with similar tree ages were planted. High acidificants concentrations in atmosphere led to the decline of these monoculture forests in the top parts of the mountains and the high acidificants deposition damaged the soils in the whole region. The goals of this study are to describe the distribution of the soil properties in altitude transects, where temperature, precipitation, and vegetation gradients are recorded, and to compare the soil properties in spruce and beech forests. The soil samples were collected from soil pits in a surviving nature-close beech forest, in a production spruce forest, and also in the top dead forest area with a grass cover. Soil samples from sufficiently deep diagnostic horizons were taken for the study of chemical properties. The basic soil characteristics were determined by the commonly used methods (pH, effective cation exchange capacity − eCEC, and the contents of cations in the sorption complex, A400/A600 as humus quality parameter, the contents of available Ca, Mg, K and P, pseudototal content of Ca and Mg, and two differently extracted Fe and Al forms contents). The soils of the Jizera Mts. are strongly acid with a low eCEC which is the result of the natural and anthropogenic acidification processes. Soil chemical properties of the most affected top mountainous parts are in some aspects more favourable than lower parts (binding of potentially toxic Al in organic matter, slightly higher pH), but in other aspects they are still endangered by the acidification symptoms (higher leaching of base cations, especially Mg). The soils of nature-close beech forests represent more favourable soil properties than those of planted spruce forests. Generally, it can be concluded that the natural systems have higher resilience, and that natural mechanisms are able to mitigate slightly the soil degradation.
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