Soil conditioning and plant-soil feedbacks in a modified forest ecosystem are soil-context dependent
There is potential for altered plant-soil feedback (PSF) to develop in human-modified ecosystems but empirical data to test this idea are limited. Here, we compared the PSF operating in jarrah forest soil restored after bauxite mining in Western Australia with that operating in unmined soil.
Native seedlings of jarrah (Eucalyptus marginata), acacia (Acacia pulchella), and bossiaea (Bossiaea ornata) were grown in unmined and restored soils to measure conditioning of chemical and biological properties as compared with unplanted control soils. Subsequently, acacia and bossiaea were grown in soils conditioned by their own or by jarrah seedlings to determine the net PSF.
In unmined soil, the three plant species conditioned the chemical properties but had little effect on the biological properties. In comparison, jarrah and bossiaea conditioned different properties of restored soil while acacia did not condition this soil. In unmined soil, neutral PSF was observed, whereas in restored soil, negative PSF was associated with acacia and bossiaea.
Soil conditioning was influenced by soil context and plant species. The net PSF was influenced by soil context, not by plant species and it was different in restored and unmined soils. The results have practical implications for ecosystem restoration after human activities.
KeywordsAcacia pulchella Bossiaea ornata Eucalyptus marginata Restoration Rhizodeposition
Phospholipid–fatty acid profile
Community level physiological profile
Principal co-ordinate analysis
Nematode channel ratio
We thank The Mexican National Council for Science and Technology (CONACYT), John Koch (ALCOA World Alumina Australia) and Tim Morald (University of Western Australia - UWA) for their support and help with field work, Michael Smirke (UWA) for his technical support during laboratory work, Deborah Lin, Khalil Kariman and Alonso Calvo Araya (UWA) for their help during the experiment, Vivien Vanstone, Sarah Collins and staff (DAFWA) for help with nematode extraction as well as Jackie Nobbs (SARDI) for training on the identification of nematode trophic groups. Finally, we thank Richard Hobbs (UWA) and Ken Dodds (ChemCentre – WA) for their support to complete the PLFA analyses.
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