Soil conditions under a Fagus sylvatica CONECOFOR stand in Central Italy: an integrated assessment through combined solid phase and solution studies
AbstractAs soil solution represents the major phase of soil chemical reactions, its study is a powerful tool for ecological investigations. Soil solution chemical composition gives a realistic idea about the soil chemical components immediately available in the environment, mainly in relation to the soil ecosystem reaction to the disturbance due to acidifying loads. Within the CONECOFOR Program, the monitoring of forest soil conditions was performed in a level II plot (ABR I), under a Fagus sylvatica (European beech) stand, through the study of throughfall and soil solutions collected from depths ranging between the base of the litter layers and 90 cm. To be able to investigate solution contents of nutrients, acidifying agents and DOC throughout the profile, both zero tension and tension lysimeters were used. The first ones were inserted below the organic horizons, while tension lysimeters were placed within the mineral horizons at 15, 25, 55 and 90 cm depth. Sampled solutions were analyzed for Na, K, Ca, Mg, NH4, Cl, F, NO3, SO4, and DOC. The results evidence a clear seasonal pattern, mainly for macronutrients and inorganic N components. Acidic pulses were mostly evident below the organic horizons, in relation to strong nitric N releases from litter; these last were not always immediately neutralized by basic cations. Acid solutions leaving the organic horizons were invariably neutralized in the surface mineral horizons, within 15 cm depth. Temporal patterns of sulphate retention and release suggest that the soil has low retention capability for this anion. Such behaviour can be explained by the composition of the solid phase, where potential anion adsorbants appear strongly linked with organic matter in long residence time complexes. Sulphate and nitrate loading of this soil appear, anyway, to be mostly non-anthropogenic, but rather linked to natural mineralization pulses and, for sulphate, to aeolian solid transport from the south.
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Copyright (c) 2002 Guia CECCHINI, Stefano CARNICELLI, Aldo MIRABELLA, Francesco MANTELLI, Guido SANESI
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