Effect of vegetation manipulation of abandoned arable land on soil microbial properties
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The effect of vegetation composition on various soil microbial properties in abandoned arable land was investigated 2 years after agricultural practice had terminated. Microbial numbers and processes were determined in five replicate plots of each of the following treatments: continued agricultural practice (monoculture of buckwheat in 1997), natural colonization by the pioneer community (arable weeds), and manipulated colonization from low (four species, three functional groups: grasses, forbs and legumes) or high diversity (15 species, three functional groups) seed mixtures from plant species that are characteristic of abandoned fields in later successional stages. The results indicated that differences in above-ground plant biomass, plant species composition and plant species diversity had no significant effect on soil microbial processes (net N mineralization, short-term nitrification, respiration and Arg ammonification), microbial biomass C and N (fumigation-incubation) or colony-forming units of the major microbial groups. Hence, there were no indications that soil microbial processes responded differently within 2 years of colonization of abandoned arable land by later successional plants as compared to that by plants from the natural pioneer weed community. Therefore, it seems that during the first few years after arable field abandonment, plants are more dependent on the prevailing soil microbiological conditions than vice versa.
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