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Response of soil microflora to moorland reclamation for improved agriculture

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Major changes in the microbial populations, estimated by the dilution plate technique, of stagnohumic gley and thin pan stagnopodzol profiles occur as a result of moorland reclamation. There is an immediate ‘surge’ in bacteria as numbers increase by two orders of magnitude compared with unreclaimed soils. Bacteria dominated recently reclaimed soils and make up 97–99% of “total” counts more than one year after initial ploughing. Actinomycetes assume much increased importance in profiles reclaimed nearly 130 years and it is thought they adjust much more slowly to a new soil environment which leads to development of a brown earth topsoil. Evidence is presented which underlines the value of numerical estimates of microorganisms as indicators of soil ecological conditions and pathways of soil development.

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Maltby, E. Response of soil microflora to moorland reclamation for improved agriculture. Plant Soil 76, 183–193 (1984). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02205579

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Key words

  • Agricultural reclamation
  • Exmoor
  • Gley
  • Microbial indices
  • Microflora
  • Pedogenic change
  • Plate counts
  • Podzol