Organic amendments improve soil conditions and denitrification in a restored riparian wetland
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Low soil organic matter (SOM) levels can limit nutrient cycling and plant growth in restored wetlands. This study examined how the addition of different amounts of compost at a restoration site in Charlotte, North Carolina, affected the development of soil properties, microbial communities, and plant growth and diversity. The stream and wetland restoration was completed in July 2004 and monitored for three years. Available nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) increased with increasing SOM. The microbial community responded to organic matter (OM) additions with increases in both total microbial biomass and microbial activity (as measured by denitrification potential). Plant community responses were less consistent. In 2004, leaf % N significantly increased with increasing OM for two species (Pontederia cordata and Sagittaria latifolia) while two other species (Acorus calamus and Schoenoplectus tabernaemontani) showed no relationship; in 2005, however, there was no relationship for any of the species. We also found no relationship between total plant aboveground biomass and % SOM measured in 2006. We found negative relationships between species richness and % SOM in 2004 and 2006, but not in 2005. These results suggest that compost amendments are an effective method for improving soil properties, stimulating microbial communities, and can improve some ecosystem functions, such as nutrient cycling, but may have limited early effects on plant communities.
Key Wordscompost amendments denitrification potential (DEA) microbial biomass plant biomass plant diversity soil organic matter (SOM) species richness wetland restoration
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