Plant and Soil

, Volume 220, Issue 1–2, pp 151–163 | Cite as

Effects of afforestation on phosphorus dynamics and biological properties in a New Zealand grassland soil

  • C. R. Chen
  • L. M. Condron
  • M. R. Davis
  • R. R. Sherlock


Selected chemical, biochemical and biological properties of mineral soil (0–30 cm) were measured under a 19 year old forest stand (mixture of Pinus ponderosa and Pinus nigra) and adjacent unimproved grassland at a site in South Island, New Zealand. The effects of afforestation on soil properties were confined to the 0–10 cm layer, which reflected the distribution of fine roots (< 2 mm) in the soil profile. Concentrations of organic C, total N and P and all organic forms of P were lower under the forest stand, while concentrations of inorganic P were higher under forest compared with grassland, supporting the previously described suggestion that afforestation may promote mineralisation of soil organic matter and organic P. On the other hand, microbial biomass C and P, soil respiration and phosphatase enzyme activity were currently all lower and the metabolic quotient was higher in soil under forest compared with grassland, which is inconsistent with increased mineralisation in the forest soil. Reduced biological fertility by afforestation may be mainly attributed to changes in the quantity, quality and distribution of organic matter, and reduction in pH of the forest soil compared with the grassland soil. We hypothesize that the lower levels of C, N and organic P found in soil under forest are due to enhanced microbial and phosphatase activity during the earlier stages of forest development. Forest floor material (L and F layer) contained large amounts of C, N and P, together with high levels of microbial and phosphatase enzyme activity. Thus, the forest floor may be an important source of nutrients for plant growth and balance the apparent reduction in C, N and P in mineral soil through mineralisation and plant uptake.

afforestation soil phosphorus soil microbial biomass 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Adams M A 1992 Phosphatase activity and phosphorus fractions in Karri (Eucalyptus diversicolor F.Muell.) forest soils. Biol. Fertil. Soils 14, 200–204.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Adams M A and Pate J S 1992 Availability of organic and inorganic forms of phosphorus to lupins. Plant Soil 145, 107–113.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Adams M A, Attiwill P M and Polglase P J 1989 Availability of nitrogen and phosphorus in forest soils in northeastern Tasmania. Biol. Fert. Soils 8, 212–218.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Alfredsson H, Condron L M, Clarholm M and Davis M R 1998 Changes in soil acidity and organic matter following the establishment of conifers on former grassland in New Zealand. For. Ecol. Manage. 112, 245–252.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Alvarez R, Santanatogia O J and Garcia R 1995 Effect of temperature on soil microbial biomass and its metabolic quotient in situ under different tillage systems. Biol. Fert. Soils 19, 227–230.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Anderson D W 1987 Pedogenesis in the grassland and adjacent forest of the Great Plains. Adv. Soil Sci. 7, 53–93.Google Scholar
  7. Anderson J P E and Domsch K H 1980 Quantities of plant nutrients in the microbial biomass of selected soils. Soil Sci. 130, 211–215.Google Scholar
  8. Attiwill P M and Adams M A 1993 Nutrient cycling in forests. New Phytol. 124, 561–582.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bartha R and Pramer D 1965 Features of a flask and method for measuring the persistence and biological effects of pesticides in soil. Soil Sci. 100, 68–70.Google Scholar
  10. Belton MC, O'Connor K F and Robson A B 1995 Phosphorus levels in topsoils under conifer plantations in Canterbury High Country grasslands. N.Z. J. For. Sci. 25, 265–282.Google Scholar
  11. Bergstrom DW, Monreal C M and King D J 1998 Sensitivity of soil enzyme activities to conservation practice. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 62, 1286–1295.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Blagodatskaya E V and Anderson T-H 1998 Interactive effects of pH and substrate quality on the fungal-to-bacteria ratio and qCO2 of microbial communities in forest soils. Soil Biol. Biochem. 30, 1269–1274.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Brookes P C, Powlson D S and Jenkinson D S 1982 Measurement of microbial biomass phosphorus in soil. Soil Biol. Biochem. 14, 319–329.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Brookes P C, Powlson D S and Jenkinson D S 1984 Phosphorus in the soil microbial biomass. Soil Biol. Biochem. 16, 169-175.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Browman M G and Tabatabai M A 1978 Phosphodiesterase activity of soils. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 42, 284–290.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Clarholm M 1993 Microbial biomass P, labile P and acid phosphatase activity in the humus layer of a spruce forest, after repeated additions of fertilizers. Biol. Fert. Soils 16, 287–292.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Condron L M, Davis M R, Newman R H and Cornforth I S 1996 Influence of conifers on the forms of phosphorus in selected New Zealand grassland soils. Biol. Fert. Soils 21, 37–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Condron L M and Newman R H 1998 Chemical nature of soil organic matter under grassland and recently established forest. Eur. J. Soil Sci. 49, 1–7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Davis M R 1995 Influence of radiata pine seedlings on chemical properties of some New Zealand montane grassland soils. Plant Soil 176, 255–262.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Davis M R and Lang M H 1991 Increased nutrient availability in topsoils under conifers in the South Island high country. N.Z. J. For. Sci. 21, 165–179.Google Scholar
  21. Dick R P, Rasmussen P E and Kerle E A 1988 Influence of long-term residue management on soil enzyme activities in relation to soil chemical properties of a wheat-fallow system. Biol. Fert. Soils 6, 159–164.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Elliott L F, Lynch J M and Papendick R I 1996 The microbial component of soil quality. In Soil Biochemistry. Eds G Stotzky and J-M Bollag. vol 9, pp 1–20. Marcel Dekker, Inc., New York.Google Scholar
  23. Gahoonia T S and Nielsen N E 1992 The effects of root-induced pH changes on the depletion of inorganic and organic phosphorus in the rhizosphere. Plant Soil 143, 185–191.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Giddens K M, Parfitt R L and Percival H J 1997 Comparison of some soil properties under Pinus radiata and improved pasture. N. Z. J. Agric. Res. 40, 409–416.Google Scholar
  25. Guggenberger G, Christensen B T, Rubæk G and Zech W 1996 Land-use and fertilization effects on P forms in two European soils: resin extraction and 31P-NMR analysis. Eur. J. Soil Sci. 47, 605–614.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Harrison A F 1983 Relationship between intensity of phosphatase activity and physico-chemical properties in woodland soils. Soil Biol. Biochem. 15, 93–99.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Harrison A F 1989 Phosphorus distribution and cycling in European forest ecosystems. In Phosphorus Cycles in Terrestrial and Aquatic Ecosystems, Regional Workshop 1: Europe. Ed. H Tiessen. pp 42–76. Saskatchewan Institute of Pedology, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada.Google Scholar
  28. Hedley M J, White R E and Nye P H 1982 Plant-induced changes in the rhizosphere of rape (Brassica napus Var. Emerald) seedlings. III. Changes in L value, soil phosphate fractions and phosphatase activity. New Phytol. 91, 45–56.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Huffman S A, Cole C V and Scott N A 1996 Soil texture and residue addition effects on soil phosphorus transformations. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 60, 1095–1101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Joergensen R G, Kublar H and Meyer B 1995 Microbial biomass phosphorus in soils of beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) forest. Biol. Fert. Soils 19, 215–219.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Leake J R 2000 Organic phosphorus utilization by mycorrhizal plants and fungi: How much do we really know? In Phosphatases in the Environment. Eds B Whitton and I Hernandez. Kluwer Academic Press (in press).Google Scholar
  32. Maclaren J P 1996 Environmental effects of planted forests in New Zealand. FRI Bulletin No.198, New Zealand Forest Research Institute, Rotorua, New Zealand. 142p.Google Scholar
  33. Magid J, Tiessen H and Condron L M 1996 Dynamics of organic phosphorus in soil natural and agricultural ecosystems. In Humic Substances in Terrestrial Ecosystems. Ed. A Piccolo. pp 429–466. Elsevier Science, Amsterdam.Google Scholar
  34. Marschner H and Dell B 1994 Nutrient uptake in mycorrhizal symbiosis. Plant Soil 159, 89–102.Google Scholar
  35. McGill W B and Cole C V 1981 Comparative aspects of cycling of organic C, N, S and P through soil organic matter. Geoderma 26, 267–286.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Noble A D, Little I P and Randall P J 1999 The influence of Pinus radiata, Quercus suber and improved pasture on soil chemical properties. Aust J. Soil Res. 37, 509–526.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Oberson A, Besson J M, Maire N and Sticher H 1996 Microbiological processes in soil organic phosphorus transformations in conventional and biological cropping systems. Biol. Fert. Soils 21, 138–148.Google Scholar
  38. Olsen S R and Sommers L E 1982 Phosphorus. In Methods of Soil Analysis (Part 2). Eds AL Page, RH Miller and DR Keeney. American Society of Agronomy Madison, WI.Google Scholar
  39. Parfitt R L, Percival H, Dahlgren R A and Hill F 1997 Soil and solution chemistry under pasture and radiata pine in New Zealand. Plant Soil 191, 279–290.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Powlson D S 1994 The soil microbial biomass: before, beyond and back. In Beyond the Biomass - Composition and Functional Analysis of Soil Microbial Communities. Eds K Ritz, J Dighton and KE Giller. pp 3–20. John Wiley & Sons, Chichester, UK.Google Scholar
  41. Richardson A E 1994 Soil microorganisms and phosphorus availability. In Soil Biota: Management in Sustainable Farming. Eds CE Pankhurst, BM Double, VVSR Gupta and PR Grace. pp 50–62. CSIRO, Melbourne, Australia.Google Scholar
  42. Ross D J, Speir T W, Kettles H A and Mackay A D 1995 Soil microbial biomass, C and N mineralization and enzyme activities in a hill pasture: influence of season and slow-release P and S fertiliser. Soil Biol. Biochem. 27, 1431–1443.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Ross D J, Tate K R, Scott N A and Feltham C W 1999 Land-use change: effects on soil carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus pools and fluxes in three adjacent ecosystems. Soil Biol. Biochem. 31, 803–813.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Rubæk G H and Sibbesen E 1993 Resin extraction of labile, soil organic phosphorus. J. Soil Sci. 44, 467–478.Google Scholar
  45. Rubæk G H and Sibbesen E 1995 Soil phosphorus dynamics in a long-term field experiment at Askov. Biol. Fert. Soils 20, 86–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Saggar S, Parfitt R L, Salt G and Skinner M F 1998 Carbon and phosphorus transformations during decomposition of pine forest floor with different phosphorus status. Biol. Fert. Soils 27, 197–204.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Sarathchandra S U, Perrott K Wand Upsdell M P 1984 Microbiological and biochemical characteristics of a range of New Zealand soils under established pasture. Soil Biol. Biochem. 16, 177–183.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Schmidt J P, Buol S W and Kamprath E J 1996 Soil phosphorus dynamics during seventeen years of continuous cultivation: Fractionation analyses. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 60, 1168–1172.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Singh S and Singh J S 1995 Microbial biomass associated with water-stable aggregates in forest, savanna and cropland soils of a seasonally dry tropical region, India. Soil Biol. Biochem. 27, 1027–1033.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Sparling G P, Hart P B S, August J A and Leslie D M 1994 A comparison of soil and microbial carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus contents, and macro-aggregate stability of a soil under native forest and after clearance for pastures and plantation forest. Biol. Fert. Soils 17, 91–100.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Sparling G P and West A W 1989 Importance of soil water content when estimating soil microbial C, N and P by the fumigationextraction methods. Soil Biol. Biochem. 21, 245–253.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Speir T W and D J Ross 1978 Soil phosphatase and sulphatase. In Soil Enzymes. Ed. RG Burns. pp 197–250. Academic Press, London.Google Scholar
  53. Tarafdar J C and Claassen N 1988 Organic phosphorus compounds as a phosphorus source for higher plants through the activity of phosphatase produced by plant roots and microorganisms. Biol. Fert. Soils 5, 308–312.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Tarafdar J C, Rao A V and Praveen K. 1992 Effects of different phosphatase-producing fungi on growth and nutrition of mung bean (Vigna radiata (L.) Wilczek) in an arid soil. Biol. Fert. Soil13, 35–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Tiessen H and Moir J O 1993 Characterization of available P by sequential extraction. In Soil Sampling and Methods of Analysis. Ed. RM Carter. pp 75–87. Lewis Publishers, Boca Raton, USA.Google Scholar
  56. Turner J and Lambert M J 1985 Soil phosphorus forms and related tree growth in a long term Pinus radiata phosphate fertilizer trial. Comm. Soil Sci. Plant Anal. 16, 275–288.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Vance E D, Brookes P C and Jenkinson D S 1987 An extraction method for measuring soil microbial biomass C. Soil Biol. Biochem. 19, 703–707.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Wu J, Joergensen R G, Pommerening Birgit, Chaussod R and Brookes P C 1990 Measurement of soil microbial biomass by fumigation-extraction - an automated procedure. Soil Biol. Biochem. 22, 1167–1169.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Yeates G W and Saggar S 1998 Comparison of soil microbial properties and fauna under tussock-grassland and pine plantation. J. Royal Soc. N.Z. 28, 523–535.Google Scholar
  60. Yeates G W, Saggar S and Daly B K 1997 Soil microbial C, N and P, and microfaunal populations under Pinus radiata and grazed pasture land-use systems. Pedobiologia 41, 549–565.Google Scholar
  61. Zou X, Binkley D and Caldwell B A 1995 Effects of dinitrogen-fixing trees on phosphorus biogeochemical cycling in contrasting forests. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 59, 1452–1458.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. R. Chen
  • L. M. Condron
  • M. R. Davis
  • R. R. Sherlock

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations