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Forests 2016, 7(5), 108; doi:10.3390/f7050108

Changes of Chemical and Biological Properties of Distinct Forest Floor Layers after Wood Ash Application in a Norway Spruce Stand

1
Faculty of Forestry, Technical University in Zvolen, TG Masaryka 24, Zvolen SK-96053, Slovakia
2
Research Station Košice, National Forest Centre Zvolen, Moyzesova 18, Košice SK-04001, Slovakia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Philip J. Polglase and Timothy A. Martin
Received: 19 February 2016 / Revised: 25 April 2016 / Accepted: 5 May 2016 / Published: 21 May 2016
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Abstract

The effect of wood ash (WA) fertilisation on chemical and biological properties of forest floor layers was studied in a Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karst.) stand in the central part of Slovakia at an altitude of 1300 m above sea level. In the forest floor, litter (OL), fragmented (OF), and humic (OH) horizons with average thickness of 1.5, 2, and 4 cm, respectively, could be distinguished. Three replicates of two wood ash treatments (3 and 6 t·ha−1) and a control were established in the autumn of 2012. Soil samples from OL, OF, OH and A-horizon were taken 0.5, 1, 6 and 12 months after the WA application. In soil samples chemical (pH, C and N content, C:N ratio, concentration of exchangeable Ca, Mg and K) and microbial properties (basal respiration, catalase activity, structure of microbial community based on BIOLOG assay) were determined. Our results showed that the changes in microbial and chemical properties do not occur simultaneously in particular horizons. WA application in autumn lead to a significant increase in pH, base cation concentration, and distinct losses in C and N content in the OL layer in the first month; however, at the beginning of the vegetation period, the most pronounced effect of WA was observed in OF and especially OH horizons; no changes were found in the A-horizon. Different properties of particular forest floor horizons led to a vertical stratification of the microbial community. Each forest floor horizon had particular properties, leading to a vertical stratification of the microbial community; deeper horizons had more homogenous functional groups. View Full-Text
Keywords: surface organic layer; fertilisation; soil properties; soil microorganisms surface organic layer; fertilisation; soil properties; soil microorganisms
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Gömöryová, E.; Pichler, V.; Tóthová, S.; Gömöry, D. Changes of Chemical and Biological Properties of Distinct Forest Floor Layers after Wood Ash Application in a Norway Spruce Stand. Forests 2016, 7, 108.

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