Humus Forms and Soil Microbiological Parameters in a Mountain Forest: Upscaling to the Slope Scale
AbstractHumus forms are the morphological results of organic matter decay and distribution in the topsoil, and thus important indicators for decomposer activities in forest ecosystems. The first aim was to examine if humus forms are suitable indicators of microbiological properties of the topsoil in a high mountain forest (Val di Rabbi, Trentino, Italian Alps). The second aim was to predict microbiological parameters based on the topsoil pH value on two slopes of the study area (ca. 1200-2200 m a.s.l.). We investigated humus forms and determined pH values and microbiological parameters (enzymatic activities, carbon/nitrogen (C/N) ratio and the ratio of bacterial/archaeal abundance) of the uppermost mineral horizon. The results reveal significant correlations between pH value and microbiological parameters (except for bacterial/archaeal abundance), which enable upscaling to the landscape scale using linear models. Based on a random forest with kriging of model residuals, predictive maps of humus form, pH value and microbiological parameters show that decomposition processes in our study area correspond with the topography. As compared to locations on south-facing slopes or close to the valley bottom, locations on north-facing slopes or close to the upper treeline exhibit Moder (scarcely Mull or Amphimull), more acidic topsoil (around pH 4), a lower activity of leucine-aminopeptidase, a lower ratio of alkaline/acid phosphomonoesterase activity and a higher soil C/N ratio (above 20). Our results suggest a high potential of humus forms to indicate soil microbiological properties in a high mountain forest. Together with the pH values of the topsoil, humus forms proved to be a useful tool as a basis for predictive maps of leucine-aminopeptidase activity, ratio of alkaline/acid phosphomonoesterase activity and C/N ratio of the mineral topsoil. View Full-Text
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Hellwig, N.; Gómez-Brandón, M.; Ascher-Jenull, J.; Bardelli, T.; Anschlag, K.; Fornasier, F.; Pietramellara, G.; Insam, H.; Broll, G. Humus Forms and Soil Microbiological Parameters in a Mountain Forest: Upscaling to the Slope Scale. Soil Syst. 2018, 2, 12.
Hellwig N, Gómez-Brandón M, Ascher-Jenull J, Bardelli T, Anschlag K, Fornasier F, Pietramellara G, Insam H, Broll G. Humus Forms and Soil Microbiological Parameters in a Mountain Forest: Upscaling to the Slope Scale. Soil Systems. 2018; 2(1):12.Chicago/Turabian Style
Hellwig, Niels; Gómez-Brandón, María; Ascher-Jenull, Judith; Bardelli, Tommaso; Anschlag, Kerstin; Fornasier, Flavio; Pietramellara, Giacomo; Insam, Heribert; Broll, Gabriele. 2018. "Humus Forms and Soil Microbiological Parameters in a Mountain Forest: Upscaling to the Slope Scale." Soil Syst. 2, no. 1: 12.
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