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Impact of common European tree species on the chemical and physicochemical properties of fine earth: An unusual pattern

Mareschal L., Bonnaud P., Turpault M.P., Ranger J.. 2010. European Journal of Soil Science, 61 (1) : p. 14-23.

DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2389.2009.01206.x

Case studies are necessary to assess the effects of changes to tree species on the physicochemical and chemical properties of soils. To achieve this, the fine earth under five tree species was investigated. This study was performed in the Breuil-Chenue experimental forest site located in the Morvan Mountains (France). This site contains two adjacent blocks with replicated stands. The native forest (old beech and oak coppice with standards) was partially clear-felled and replaced in 1976 with mono-specific plantations of European beech, Norway spruce, Laricio pine and Douglas fir. The same changes in soil properties were revealed in both blocks, thus confirming the tree species effect. The percentage of exchangeable acidity on the cation exchange capacity (CEC) was greater under spruce, Douglas fir and pine than under the other species. Spruce stands, and to a lesser extent those of Douglas fir and pine, had a less acidic soil pH than hardwood stands (which was unusual in view of the data in the literature) and smaller CEC values. The small quantities of carbon added to the soil under these tree species provide an explanation for these effects through a partial control of both CEC and pH. This case study thus demonstrated that the tree species effect was not unequivocal and different criteria are necessary for its interpretation. Tree species significantly influenced certain aspects of the chemical properties of topsoil and have the potential to have an impact on current soil fertility.

Mots-clés : pseudotsuga menziesii; picea abies; picea sitchensis; propriété physicochimique du sol; espèce; forêt tempérée; fertilité du sol; bourgogne; france

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