Next Article in Journal
Soil Carbon Dioxide Respiration in Switchgrass Fields: Assessing Annual, Seasonal and Daily Flux Patterns
Previous Article in Journal
Soil Water Extraction Monitored Per Plot Across a Field Experiment Using Repeated Electromagnetic Induction Surveys
Article Menu

Export Article

Open AccessArticle

Humus Forms and Soil Microbiological Parameters in a Mountain Forest: Upscaling to the Slope Scale

1
Institute of Geography, Osnabrück University, Seminarstraße 19ab, 49074 Osnabrück, Germany
2
Institute of Microbiology, University of Innsbruck, Technikerstraße 25d, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria
3
Departamento de Ecología y Biología Animal, Universidad de Vigo, Vigo 36310, Spain
4
Department of Agrifood and Environmental Science, University of Florence, Piazzale delle Cascine, 50144 Firenze, Italy
5
Consiglio per la Ricerca e la Sperimentazione in Agricoltura, Centro di Ricerca per lo Studio delle Relazioni tra Pianti e Suolo (C.R.A.-R.P.S.), Via Trieste 23, 34170 Gorizia, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Soil Syst. 2018, 2(1), 12; https://doi.org/10.3390/soilsystems2010012
Received: 23 January 2018 / Revised: 21 February 2018 / Accepted: 21 February 2018 / Published: 24 February 2018
  |  
PDF [27846 KB, uploaded 26 February 2018]
  |  

Abstract

Humus 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
Keywords: spatial modeling; hydrolytic enzyme activities; soil acidity; random forest; forest ecosystem; Italian Alps spatial modeling; hydrolytic enzyme activities; soil acidity; random forest; forest ecosystem; Italian Alps
Figures

Figure 1

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).

Supplementary material

SciFeed

Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

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.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics

1

Comments

[Return to top]
Soil Syst. EISSN 2571-8789 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top