Effect of willow short rotation coppice on soil properties after three years of growth as compared to forest, grassland and arable land uses
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- Stauffer, M., Leyval, C., Brun, JJ. et al. Plant Soil (2014) 377: 423. doi:10.1007/s11104-013-1986-4
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Despite many studies on the impact of arable land conversion to Short Rotation Coppice (SRC), few studies have been carried out on soil biota. This study aims at assessing biological and physico-chemical soil properties that are affected by SRC compared to forestry, grassland and an agrosystem.
All samples were collected in the Aisne valley (France), from the same type of soil, with four land uses, i.e. willow SRC, agrosystem, grassland and alluvial forest, 3 years after SRC was planted. We studied fertility, the biological community (earthworm diversity, density and biomass, bacterial and fungal density and community structures) and biochemical parameters (enzyme activities, basal respiration and nitrification).
After 3 years’ growth, soil biological parameters (fungal abundance, laccase activity, anecic earthworm proportion and earthworm diversity) and CEC were higher in the SRC than in the agrosystem soil. In parallel, fungal abundance was higher in SRC than in forest and grassland soils.
Compared to annual arable crops, SRC promoted biological properties. However, in the short term, the parameters we measured were lower than in the forest and grassland soils. The use of certain parameters as indicators of soil functioning/quality assessment to discriminate the four land uses is discussed.