Plant and Soil

, Volume 401, Issue 1–2, pp 185–196 | Cite as

Dynamics of soil carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus in calcareous soils after land-use abandonment – A chronosequence study

  • Marie SpohnEmail author
  • Tibor József Novák
  • József Incze
  • Luise Giani
Regular Article



The objective of this study was to investigate changes in soil total organic C (TOC), total nitrogen (TN), phosphorus (P) fractions, and microbial community structure during secondary succession after abandonment of vineyards on calcareous soils.


Two chronosequences covering 200 years and differing in aspect and slope were established in Hungary, and the upper 10 cm of the mineral soils were studied.


We found strong increases in TOC concentrations after land-use abandonment, especially at the south-exposed sites. The TOC/TN ratio increased by a factor of 1.3 in the south-west exposed chronosequence and by a factor of 1.6 in south exposed chronosequence. The concentration of labile P (NaHCO3-extractable P) diminished during the first 50 years after land-use abandonment, leading to low P availability at the later stages of the succession. The total organic P (TOP) concentration increased during the first 40 years after abandonment. At the later stages of succession, TOP concentrations decreased again, while the ratio of TOC/TOP increased continuously over 200 years. The ratio of arbuscular-mycorrhizal-fungi-to-bacteria (AMF/bacteria) increased strongly during the first decade after abandonment of the vineyards.


Our study indicates that impacts of former cultivation on secondary ecosystems persisted for more than a century, and that especially P concentrations showed long lasting legacy effects.


Land-use abandonment Chronosequence Phosphorus fractions Organic phosphorus Stoichiometry Microbial community composition 



Research was allowed by the Northern-Hungary Inspectorate for Environmental Protection Nature Conservation and Water Management, Miskolc, in accordance with decree No. 16496-3/2011. We would like to thank all students that helped with the field work. We are grateful to Carolin Apostel and Michaela Dippold for their help with the PLFA analysis, and to Carlos A. Sierra for his help with the software program R.

Supplementary material

11104_2015_2513_MOESM1_ESM.docx (15 kb)
Appendix 1 (DOCX 15 kb)
11104_2015_2513_MOESM2_ESM.docx (18 kb)
Appendix 2 (DOCX 18.0 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marie Spohn
    • 1
    Email author
  • Tibor József Novák
    • 2
  • József Incze
    • 2
  • Luise Giani
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Soil Ecology, Bayreuth Center of Ecology and Environmental Research (BayCEER)University BayreuthBayreuthGermany
  2. 2.Department of Landscape Protection and Environmental GeographyUniversity of DebrecenDebrecenHungary
  3. 3.Department of Soil Science, Institute of Biology and Environmental SciencesCarl von Ossietzky University OldenburgOldenburgGermany

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