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Article

Contrasting Effects of Forest Type and Stand Age on Soil Microbial Activities: An Analysis of Local Scale Variability

1
Institute of Agrophysics, Polish Academy of Sciences, Doświadczalna 4, 20-290 Lublin, Poland
2
UCD School of Biology and Environmental Science and UCD Earth Institute, University College Dublin, Belfield, 4 Dublin, Ireland
3
School of Applied Sciences and Technology, Prudence College Dublin, 22 Dublin, Ireland
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Ana Alexandre and Kathrin Wippel
Biology 2021, 10(9), 850; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology10090850
Received: 13 July 2021 / Revised: 25 August 2021 / Accepted: 26 August 2021 / Published: 31 August 2021
The potentially important role of forests in climate change mitigation suggests a strong need for a more detailed understanding of these ecosystems. Besides climatic conditions, diverse forest vegetation creates varied conditions for the activity of soil microorganisms, and particular attention should be focused on a comprehensive study on the influence of different forest types on microbial activities. We conducted an experiment on six different forest soils (two coniferous, two deciduous, and two mixed sites comprising trees of different ages) collected from the same region (Lublin Upland, Poland) to assess the relationship between forest type and seasonal changes in microbial parameters. The annual mean values of the soil microbial indicators suggest that the mature deciduous stand was the most sustainable in microbial activities among the forest soils investigated. The diversity of the forest environment and the multifactorial dependence of the microbiological activity of forest soils necessitates further research in this field, especially using the same soil types. An understanding of forest ecosystem functioning can also be useful for forest management.
Understanding the functioning of different forest ecosystems is important due to their key role in strategies for climate change mitigation, especially through soil C sequestration. In controlled laboratory conditions, we conducted a preliminary study on six different forest soils (two coniferous, two deciduous, and two mixed sites comprising trees of different ages) collected from the same region. The aim was to explore any differences and assess seasonal changes in soil microbial parameters (basal respiration BR, microbial biomass Cmic, metabolic quotient qCO2, dehydrogenase activity DHA, and Cmic:Corg ratio). Indicator- and forest-specific seasonality was assessed. In addition to litter input, soil parameters (pH, nutrient content, texture and moisture) strongly regulated the analyzed microbial indicators. PCA analysis indicated similarity between mature mixed and deciduous forests. Among annual mean values, high Cmic and DHA with simultaneously low qCO2 suggest that the mature deciduous stand was the most sustainable in microbial activities among the investigated forest soils. Research on the interrelationship between soil parameters and forest types with different tree ages needs to be continued and extended to analyze a greater number of forest and soil types. View Full-Text
Keywords: forest soil; microbiology; enzymes; C cycle; basal respiration; soil microbial biomass; dehydrogenase; GHGs; C sequestration forest soil; microbiology; enzymes; C cycle; basal respiration; soil microbial biomass; dehydrogenase; GHGs; C sequestration
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MDPI and ACS Style

Walkiewicz, A.; Bieganowski, A.; Rafalska, A.; Khalil, M.I.; Osborne, B. Contrasting Effects of Forest Type and Stand Age on Soil Microbial Activities: An Analysis of Local Scale Variability. Biology 2021, 10, 850. https://doi.org/10.3390/biology10090850

AMA Style

Walkiewicz A, Bieganowski A, Rafalska A, Khalil MI, Osborne B. Contrasting Effects of Forest Type and Stand Age on Soil Microbial Activities: An Analysis of Local Scale Variability. Biology. 2021; 10(9):850. https://doi.org/10.3390/biology10090850

Chicago/Turabian Style

Walkiewicz, Anna, Andrzej Bieganowski, Adrianna Rafalska, Mohammad I. Khalil, and Bruce Osborne. 2021. "Contrasting Effects of Forest Type and Stand Age on Soil Microbial Activities: An Analysis of Local Scale Variability" Biology 10, no. 9: 850. https://doi.org/10.3390/biology10090850

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