Soil Chemistry (soil + chemistry)

Distribution by Scientific Domains

Selected Abstracts

Soil chemistry versus environmental controls on production of CH4 and CO2 in northern peatlands

J. B. Yavitt
Summary Rates of organic carbon mineralization (to CO2 and CH4) vary widely in peat soil. We transplanted four peat soils with different chemical composition into six sites with different environmental conditions to help resolve the debate about control of organic carbon mineralization by resource availability (e.g. carbon and nutrient chemistry) versus environmental conditions (e.g. temperature, moisture, pH). The four peat soils were derived from Sphagnum (bog moss). Two transplant sites were in mid-boreal Alberta, Canada, two were in low-boreal Ontario, Canada, and two were in the temperate United States. After 3 years in the field, CH4 production varied significantly as a function of peat type, transplant site, and the type,site interaction. All four peat soils had very small rates of CH4 production (< 20 nmol g,1 day,1) after transplant into two sites, presumably caused by acid site conditions (pH < 4.0). One peat soil had small CH4 production rates regardless of transplant site. A canonical discriminant analysis revealed that large rates of CH4 production (4000 nmol g,1 day,1) correlated with large holocellulose content, a large concentration of p -hydroxyl phenolic compounds in the Klason lignin, and small concentrations of N, Ca and Mn in peat. Significant variation in rates of CO2 production correlated positively with holocellulose content and negatively with N concentrations, regardless of transplant site. The temperature response for CO2 production varied as a function of climate, being greater for peat formed in a cold climate, but did not apply to transplanted peat. Although we succeeded in elucidating some aspects of peat chemistry controlling production of CH4 and CO2 in Sphagnum -derived peat soils, we also revealed idiosyncratic combinations of peat chemistry and site conditions that will complicate forecasting rates of peat carbon mineralization into the future. [source]

Elementary processes of soil,water interaction and thresholds in soil surface dynamics: a review

Richard S. B. Greene
Abstract Elementary processes of soil,water interaction and the thresholds to these processes are important to understand as they control a range of phenomena that occur at the soil surface. In particular processes involved with wetting by rainfall that lead to particle breakdown are critical. This breakdown causes soil detachment and crust formation, which are both key elements in erosion. This paper reviews the range of approaches that have been taken in describing the processes associated with the wetting of a soil surface by rainfall. It assembles the studies that emphasize soil physics, soil chemistry, and erosion mechanics in a framework to enable a balanced consideration of important processes and management strategies to control erosion for a particular situation. In particular it discusses the factors associated with the two basic processes of soil structural breakdown, i.e. slaking and dispersion, and how these processes are critical in particle detachment, transport and surface crust formation. Besides the balance between the exchangeable cation composition and electrolyte concentration (measured as the sodium adsorption ratio (SAR) and total cation concentration (TCC) respectively) of the soil, the importance of energy input and soil organic matter content in controlling clay dispersion is emphasized. Based on the balance between these factors, the soil can be in one of three different regions, i.e. a dispersed region, a ,occulated region and one where the resilience of the soil is variable. The implications of each of these regions to soil erosion management are brie,y outlined, as are the critical roles that soil cover levels and organic matter have in controlling erosion. Finally, the relationship between various laboratory measures of aggregate stability, and corresponding ,eld erosion characteristics, is discussed. Copyright © 2004 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. [source]

Foraging animals create fertile patches in an Australian desert shrubland

ECOGRAPHY, Issue 5 2009
Alex I. James
Fertile patches are created and maintained by a combination of physical and biologically-mediated processes including soil disturbance by animals. We examined the creation of fertile patches by 4 vertebrates, the greater bilby Macrotis lagotis, burrowing bettong Bettongia lesueur, European rabbit Oryctolagus cuniculus, and Gould's sand goanna Varanus gouldii within dunes, ecotones, and swales in a dunefield in arid South Australia. These animals all create pits when foraging for subterranean food resources. We hypothesized that 1) the effect of pits on litter capture would vary among landscapes and animal species, 2) larger pits would trap more litter and seed, 3) pits would contain more viable seed than the surrounding matrix, and 4) the effect of pits on soil chemistry would vary among animal species, and be greater in landscapes with more finely textured soils. We found that litter was restricted almost exclusively to the pits, and was greater in pits with larger openings. Litter capture was greater in ecotones and dunes than in swales. A total of 1307 seedlings from 46 genera germinated from litter samples taken from the pits, but no seedlings emerged from samples taken from soil surrounding the pits. Foraging pits contained significantly higher levels of total C and N than surrounding soil, and total C and N concentrations were greatest in swales and lowest in dunes. Pits contained ca 55% more mineralisable N that surface soils, and pits constructed by bilbies and bettongs contained half the concentration of mineralisable N as those of rabbits and goannas. Concentrations of mineral N and mineralisable N were also greatest in the swales. Our results demonstrate the importance of animal-created pits as nutrient sinks and sites for seedling establishment, and suggest that changes in the composition of arid zone vertebrates may have resulted in profound changes to nutrient and soil dynamics in arid Australia. [source]

Cation exchange in forest soils: the need for a new perspective

D. S. Ross
Summary The long-term sustainability of forest soils may be affected by the retention of exchangeable nutrient cations such as Ca2+ and the availability of potentially toxic cations such as Al3+. Many of our current concepts of cation exchange and base cation saturation are largely unchanged since the beginnings of soil chemistry over a century ago. Many of the same methods are still in use even though they were developed in a period when exchangeable aluminium (Al) and variable charge were not generally recognized. These concepts and methods are not easily applicable to acid, highly organic forest soils. The source of charge in these soils is primarily derived from organic matter (OM) but the retention of cations, especially Al species, cannot be described by simple exchange phenomena. In this review, we trace the development of modern cation exchange definitions and procedures, and focus on how these are challenged by recent research on the behaviour of acid forest soils. Although the effective cation exchange capacity (CECe) in an individual forest soil sample can be easily shown to vary with the addition of strong base or acid, it is difficult to find a pH effect in a population of different acid forest soil samples. In the very acidic pH range below ca 4.5, soils will generally have smaller concentrations of adsorbed Al3+. This can be ascribed to a reduced availability of weatherable Al-containing minerals and a large amount of weak, organic acidity. Base cation saturation calculations in this pH range do not provide a useful metric and, in fact, pH is modelled better if Al3+ is considered to be a base cation. Measurement of exchangeable Al3+ with a neutral salt represents an ill-defined but repeatable portion of organically complexed Al, affected by the pH of the extractant. Cation exchange in these soils can be modelled if assumptions are made as to the proportion of individual cations that are non-specifically bound by soil OM. Future research should recognize these challenges and focus on redefining our concepts of cation retention in these important soils. [source]

Recolonisation of natural landslides in tropical mountain forests of Southern Ecuador

(corresp. author) C. Ohl Dr.
The regeneration of the vegetation of natural landslides was studied at Estación Científica San Francisco (ECSF) in a tropical mountain forest area of Southern Ecuador, north of Podocarpus National Park. The study focused on the process of regeneration on natural landslides and the vegetation change along an altitudinal gradient using space-for-time substitution. The most important plant families present on the landslides during the first stages of succession are Gleicheniaceae (Pteridophyta), Melastomataceae, Ericaceae and Orchidaceae. Species of the genus Sticherus (Gleicheniaceae) are dominant, and species composition varies with altitude and soil conditions. Colonisation of landslides is not homogeneous. Zones with bare ground, sparsely vegetated patches and densely covered areas may be present within the same slide. This small scale spatial heterogeneity is often created by local ongoing sliding processes and different distances towards undisturbed areas. Therefore, the duration of the successional process is highly variable. The initial stage of the succession is a community of non vascular plants interspersed with scattered individuals of vascular plants. By means of runner-shoots they form vegetation patches which start growing into each other. The second stage is dominated by Gleicheniaceae (species composition varying in altitude and soil chemistry). In the third stage, bushes and trees colonise, sheltered by the ferns, and a secondary forest develops with pioneer species that are not found in the primary forest vegetation. The common phenomenon of the natural landslides leads to an increase in structural and species diversity on a regional scale. (© 2004 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim) Rekolonisation auf natürlichen Hangrutschungen in tropischen Bergwäldern Südecuadors Im tropischen Bergwald Südecuadors (nördlich des Podocarpus Nationalparks im Gebiet der Estación Científica San Francisco, ECSF) wurden Artenzusammensetzung und Rekolonisationsprozesse früher Sukzessionsstadien entlang eines Höhengradienten auf natürlichen Hangrutschungen untersucht. Besonders Gleicheniaceae, Melastomataceae, Ericaceae und Orchidaceae sind von Bedeutung. Arten der Gattung Sticherus (Gleicheniaceae) sind sehr zahlreich vertreten. Die Artenzusammensetzung wechselt entlang des Höhengradienten und in Abhängigkeit von den Bodenbedingungen. Die mosaikartige Verteilung der Vegetation auf den Rutschungen (gänzlich unbedeckte bis stark überwucherte Zonen) ist auf häufige lokale Nachrutschungen sowie auf unterschiedliche Geschwindigkeiten der Wiederbesiedlung entsprechend der Distanz zu ungestörter Vegetation zurückzuführen. Die Dauer der Sukzession ist daher sehr variabel. Das Initialstadium wird von Moosen und Flechten gebildet. Im weiteren Verlauf führt die überwiegend vegetative Ausbreitung einzelner Gefäßpflanzen zum zweiten Sukzessionsstadium. Dieses ist durch die Dominanz von Gleicheniaceae gekennzeichnet, während im dritten Stadium im Schutze der Farne erste Büsche und Bäume heranwachsen und den Pionierwald bilden. Da diese Arten nicht im Primärwald vertreten sind, kommt es regional zu einer beträchtlichen Erhöhung der Artenzahl und der strukturellen Diversität. [source]

Seasonal and management influences on bacterial community structure in an upland grassland soil

Nabla M. Kennedy
Abstract Floristically diverse Nardo,Galion upland grasslands are common in Ireland and the UK and are valuable in agricultural, environmental and ecological terms. Under improvement (inputs of lime, fertiliser and re-seeding), they convert to mesotrophic grassland containing very few plant species. The effects of upland grassland improvement and seasonality on soil microbial communities were investigated at an upland site. Samples were taken at five times in one year in order to observe seasonal trends, and bacterial community structure was monitored using automated ribosomal intergenic spacer analysis (ARISA), a DNA-fingerprinting approach. Differences in soil chemistry and bacterial community structure between unimproved and improved grassland soils were noted. Season was also found to cause mild fluctuations in bacterial community structure, with soil samples from colder months (October and December) more correlated with change in ribotype profiles than samples from warmer months. However, for the majority of seasons clear differences in bacterial community structures from unimproved and improved soils could be seen, indicating seasonal influences did not obscure effects associated with improvement. [source]

Reconstruction of activity areas at a formative household in northwest Argentina

María Marta Sampietro
This paper analyzes the spatial pattern of landscapes and domestic unit activity areas at an archaeological site in northwest Argentina. The site is on a cone glacis in the Tafí Valley on the east side of Aconquija Mountain. The archaeological structures are associated with one of the earliest permanent villages of the region and date to the Formative Period of the Tafí culture (2296 ± 70 yr B.P. to 1140 ± 50 yr B.P.). Using photointerpretation, we distinguished two main structure types: agricultural structures, such as stone terraces, and circular houses. Statistical analysis of the different types of circular structures indicates that simple units had a uniform distribution, which reflects the main function of the area. The patio of one unit was excavated, and three burial cists were found under a Formative Period floor. Archaeological artifacts, together with 107 soil samples from the floor, were collected to establish activity areas within the domestic space. By analyzing soil chemistry (pH, calcium, organic and inorganic phosphorous) and ceramic and animal bone distributions, three major activity areas (animal processing, plant storage, and burials) were identified. © 2005 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. [source]

Evaluation of soil saturation, soil chemistry, and early spring soil and air temperatures as risk factors in yellow-cedar decline

Abstract Yellow-cedar (Callitropsis nootkatensis (D. Don) Oerst.) is a valuable tree species that is experiencing a widespread decline and mortality in southeast Alaska. This study evaluated the relative importance of several potential risk factors associated with yellow-cedar decline: soil saturation, soil aluminum (Al) toxicity or calcium (Ca) deficiency, and air and soil temperature. Data were collected from permanent vegetation plots established in two low-elevation coastal forests exhibiting broad ranges of cedar mortality. Measurements of each risk factor were contrasted among classified forest zones to indicate if there were strong links with decline. Hydrology alone is weakly associated with yellow-cedar decline, but could have a predisposing role in the decline by creating exposed conditions because of reduced forest productivity. Yellow-cedar decline is not strongly associated with soil pH and extractable Al and Ca, but there appears to be Ca enrichment of surface soils by feedback from dead yellow-cedar foliage. Air and soil temperature factors are strongly associated with decline. Based on these results, an hypothesis is presented to explain the mechanism of tree injury where exposure-driven tree mortality is initiated in gaps created by soil saturation and then expands in gaps created by the tree-mortality itself. The exposure allows soils to warm in early spring causing premature dehardening in yellow-cedar trees and subsequent freezing injury during cold events. Yellow-cedars growing in the protection of shade or snow are not preconditioned by this warming, and thus not as susceptible to cold injury. Yellow-cedar decline appears to be associated with regional climate changes, but whether the cause of these changes is related to natural or human-induced climate shifts remains uncertain. Management implications, the possible role of climate, and recommended research are discussed. [source]

Evaluation of model complexity and space,time resolution on the prediction of long-term soil salinity dynamics, western San Joaquin Valley, California

G. Schoups
Abstract The numerical simulation of long-term large-scale (field to regional) variably saturated subsurface flow and transport remains a computational challenge, even with today's computing power. Therefore, it is appropriate to develop and use simplified models that focus on the main processes operating at the pertinent time and space scales, as long as the error introduced by the simpler model is small relative to the uncertainties associated with the spatial and temporal variation of boundary conditions and parameter values. This study investigates the effects of various model simplifications on the prediction of long-term soil salinity and salt transport in irrigated soils. Average root-zone salinity and cumulative annual drainage salt load were predicted for a 10-year period using a one-dimensional numerical flow and transport model (i.e. UNSATCHEM) that accounts for solute advection, dispersion and diffusion, and complex salt chemistry. The model uses daily values for rainfall, irrigation, and potential evapotranspiration rates. Model simulations consist of benchmark scenarios for different hypothetical cases that include shallow and deep water tables, different leaching fractions and soil gypsum content, and shallow groundwater salinity, with and without soil chemical reactions. These hypothetical benchmark simulations are compared with the results of various model simplifications that considered (i) annual average boundary conditions, (ii) coarser spatial discretization, and (iii) reducing the complexity of the salt-soil reaction system. Based on the 10-year simulation results, we conclude that salt transport modelling does not require daily boundary conditions, a fine spatial resolution, or complex salt chemistry. Instead, if the focus is on long-term salinity, then a simplified modelling approach can be used, using annually averaged boundary conditions, a coarse spatial discretization, and inclusion of soil chemistry that only accounts for cation exchange and gypsum dissolution,precipitation. We also demonstrate that prediction errors due to these model simplifications may be small, when compared with effects of parameter uncertainty on model predictions. The proposed model simplifications lead to larger time steps and reduced computer simulation times by a factor of 1000. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. [source]

The resilience of calcareous and mesotrophic grasslands following disturbance

Summary 1Understanding habitat disturbance and recovery is vital for successful conservation management and restoration, particularly of subseral communities with high nature conservation interest and sites subject to unavoidable disturbance pressures, such as that arising from access and recreational activities. 2Grassland resilience was investigated on the Salisbury Plain Training Area (SPTA) in southern England, the largest of the UK military training areas. SPTA contains the greatest expanse of unimproved chalk grassland in north-west Europe, a habitat of particular nature conservation interest. 3Historical aerial photographs were used to identify 82 calcareous and mesotrophic grassland sites disturbed over a 50-year time period. Vegetation, soils and seed bank data were collected from each old disturbance site. Revegetation time periods following disturbance were compared, and habitat resilience following disturbance investigated using the succession of surface vegetation along the chronosequence, the combined changes of vegetation and soil chemistry, and finally vegetation and seed bank composition. 4The sampled calcareous grasslands were less resilient following disturbance than the mesotrophic grasslands, with slower colonization of bare ground and target species re-assembly. The mesotrophic grasslands typically took between 30 and 40 years to re-establish following disturbance, whereas calcareous grasslands took at least 50 years. 5Even after such long time periods, there remained subtle but significant differences between the vegetation composition of the disturbed and undisturbed swards. Perennial forb species, particularly hemicryptophytes, persisted at higher frequencies in swards disturbed 50 years ago than in undisturbed swards. 6Synthesis and applications. Prediction of habitat resilience following disturbance is dependent on which components of the system are investigated. However, data such as that presented here can help land managers understand how palimpsests of current habitat characteristics may have evolved, and how disturbance regimes may be managed in the future. It is likely that the resilience of grasslands such as those on SPTA may have been overestimated, and perceptions of habitat carrying capacity for disturbance events may require re-evaluation. [source]

Soil N dynamics in relation to leaf litter quality and soil fertility in north-western Patagonian forests

Patricia Satti
Summary 1We examined the relationships among soil N dynamics, soil chemistry and leaf litter quality in 28 forest stands dominated by conifers, woody broad-leaf deciduous species or broad-leaf evergreens. Potential net N mineralization, net nitrification and microbial biomass N were used as indicators of soil N dynamics; pH, organic C, total N, exchangeable cations and extractable P as indicators of soil chemistry and N concentration, lignin concentration, C : N ratio and lignin : N ratio in senescent leaves as indicators of leaf litter quality. N dynamics were assessed in two consecutive years with contrasting precipitation. 2Net N mineralization was lower in stands of the three conifers and one of three broad-leaf evergreen species than in stands of the other six broad-leaf species (40,77 vs. 87,250 mg N kg,1 after 16-week incubations) and higher in the wetter year. 3The proportion of N nitrified was high beneath most species regardless of mineralization rates, soil N fertility and leaf litter quality, and was significantly higher for the wetter year. Ammonium was the predominant form of N in three sites affected by seasonal waterlogging and in two sites the predominant form changed from ammonium in the drier year to nitrate during the wetter year, probably due to differences in soil texture affecting soil moisture. 4Net N mineralization was linearly related to microbial biomass N, implying that the microbial activity per biomass unit was quite similar beneath all species. Constant microbial biomass during the wetter year suggested that as mineralization/nitrification increased, there was a higher potential risk of N losses. 5Although the litter lignin : N ratio allowed differentiation of soil N dynamics between broad-leaf species and conifers, its constant value (23,28) in all broad-leaf species made it a poor predictor of the differences found within this group. Across all sites and between broad-leaf species, soil N dynamics were best explained by a combination of leaf litter lignin and soil chemistry indicators, particularly soil total N for net N mineralization and net nitrification, and soil organic C for microbial biomass N. [source]

Life history determines biogeographical patterns of soil bacterial communities over multiple spatial scales

Abstract The extent to which the distribution of soil bacteria is controlled by local environment vs. spatial factors (e.g. dispersal, colonization limitation, evolutionary events) is poorly understood and widely debated. Our understanding of biogeographic controls in microbial communities is likely hampered by the enormous environmental variability encountered across spatial scales and the broad diversity of microbial life histories. Here, we constrained environmental factors (soil chemistry, climate, above-ground plant community) to investigate the specific influence of space, by fitting all other variables first, on bacterial communities in soils over distances from m to 102 km. We found strong evidence for a spatial component to bacterial community structure that varies with scale and organism life history (dispersal and survival ability). Geographic distance had no influence over community structure for organisms known to have survival stages, but the converse was true for organisms thought to be less hardy. Community function (substrate utilization) was also shown to be highly correlated with community structure, but not to abiotic factors, suggesting nonstochastic determinants of community structure are important Our results support the view that bacterial soil communities are constrained by both edaphic factors and geographic distance and further show that the relative importance of such constraints depends critically on the taxonomic resolution used to evaluate spatio-temporal patterns of microbial diversity, as well as life history of the groups being investigated, much as is the case for macro-organisms. [source]

Land use legacies in post-agricultural forests in the Doupovské Mountains, Czech Republic

Martin Kopecký
Abstract Questions: Do differences in previous land use cause long-lasting changes in soil chemistry? Is vegetation composition affected by the previous land use after 50 years of secondary succession? Is the effect of previous land use caused by pre-existing differences in environmental conditions or mediated through changes in soil chemistry? How important is the effect of previous land use in relation to other factors? Location: Doupovské Mountains, Czech Republic. Methods: A stratified random sampling design was used to collect 91 vegetation relevés with accompanying soil samples. The effects of previous land use (arable field, meadow, pasture) on soil pH, organic carbon (C), total nitrogen (N), C:N ratio and available phosphorus were tested by an analysis of covariance. A canonical correspondence analysis and variation partitioning procedure were used to reveal relationships among previous land use, environmental factors and species composition. Results: Organic C, total N and C:N ratio were significantly influenced by previous land use, while available phosphorus and soil pH were not. Previous land use explained a significant part of the variation in species composition and its effects only partly overlapped with the effects of soil chemistry and terrain attributes. However, the species composition of post-agricultural forests was mostly determined by environmental factors not modified by previous land use. Conclusions: Forest communities that originate on abandoned agricultural land are primarily determined by natural environmental conditions. Nevertheless, the type of previous land use also modifies the species assemblages of these forests and needs to be considered as an important determinant of their composition. [source]

The decline of metallophyte vegetation in floodplain grasslands: Implications for conservation and restoration

Esther C.H.E.T. Lucassen
Abstract Question: Which biogeochemical processes are responsible for the decline of endemic metallophyte vegetation in floodplain grasslands? Location: Floodplain grasslands along the River Geul (the Netherlands) and metalliferous mine spoils near the River Geul (Belgium). Methods: In order to find factors and soil processes that have caused a decline of metallophytes and an increase of pseudo-metallophytes in floodplain grasslands, a soil study was done at locations currently and formerly dominated by metallophytes. In addition, changes in soil chemistry in recent decades in floodplain grasslands were investigated. Finally, a 2-year plant growth experiment was performed in the field, to test the effects of improving soil conditions by topsoil removal. Results: Metallophytes only occur on acidic floodplain soils (pH-H2O 5.0-5.5) with relatively high Zn availability (total Zn >40 ,mol g,1; Zn/Ca>0.8; Zn-H2O>59 ,mol kg,1) combined with low phosphate availability (Olsen-P,1250 ,mol kg,1). The Olsen-P and total Ca concentrations were relatively high in topsoil (0-20 cm), while total Zn was high throughout the soil profile (0-50 cm). Removal of topsoil led to recovery of P and Zn availability. Under the new soil conditions there was almost no growth and expansion of pseudo-metalliferous grasses in time, wheras metallophytes easily established, maintained and reproduced with significant increases in cover over time. Conclusions: On a global scale, metallophyte vegetation types are increasingly under threat of extinction. Our study shows that factors leading to higher soil alkalinity inhibit Zn availability at the expense of the metallophyte vegetation. Factors leading to a higher Olsen-P concentration stimulate the growth of more competitive pseudo-metallophyte grasses. Both eutrophication and alkalinisation have contributed to the decline of metallophyte vegetation in floodplains of the River Geul. Removal of the alkaline- and phosphate-enriched soil top layer restores the original soil chemistry and enables re-colonisation by the metallophyte vegetation. The results can be applied in conservation and restoration strategies for such sites. [source]

Hip holes: kangaroo (Macropus spp.) resting sites modify the physical and chemical environment of woodland soils

D. J. Eldridge
Abstract Hip holes are shallow, reniform-shaped depressions found next to the trunks of many trees and shrubs in arid and semi-arid Australia. They are constructed by kangaroos (Macropus spp.), who use them as diurnal resting sites, particularly during hot weather. Physical and chemical properties of soils in hip holes were compared with non-hole microsites adjacent to the trunk (,trunk'), microsites below the canopy (,canopy') and microsites out in the open (,open') under two trees (Eucalyptus intertexta, Alectryon oleifolius) and one shrub (Dodonaea viscosa) in a semi-arid woodland in eastern Australia. Overall, there were few effects under D. viscosa apart from a greater (10-fold) mass of litter in the hip holes compared with the trunk microsite. Hip holes under E. intertexta and A. oleifolius, however, contained six times more dung compared with the trunk microsite. For the two tree species, soils in the hip holes were significantly more erodible, as measured by aggregation levels, compared with the other microsites, but there were no significant differences in bulk density nor pH. Steady-state infiltration rates at the hip hole and trunk microsites were significantly greater than those in the open, but there was no significant hip hole effect. Soils in the hip holes contained greater levels of exchangeable calcium and magnesium (E. intertexta) and greater exchangeable sodium (A. oleifolius) compared with trunk microsites. Hip holes under E. intertexta contained approximately 68% more organic carbon, total carbon and nitrogen, and 86% more sulfur compared with trunk microsites. Similarly, hip holes under A. oleifolius contained on average 38% more organic and total carbon, and 47% more nitrogen than trunk microsites. Given the density of hip holes and their impact on soil chemistry, kangaroos are considered to be important elements in the maintenance of heterogeneity in these woodlands. [source]

Agricultural soils spiked with copper mine wastes and copper concentrate: Implications for copper bioavailability and bioaccumulation,

Rosanna Ginocchio
Abstract A better understanding of exposure to and effects of copper-rich pollutants in soils is required for accurate environmental risk assessment of copper. A greenhouse experiment was conducted to study copper bioavailability and bioaccumulation in agricultural soils spiked with different types of copper-rich mine solid wastes (copper ore, tailing sand, smelter dust, and smelter slag) and copper concentrate. A copper salt (copper sulfate, CuSO4) that frequently is used to assess soil copper bioavailability and phytotoxicity also was included for comparison. Results showed that smelter dust, tailing sand, and CuSO4 are more likely to be bioavailable and, thus, toxic to plants compared with smelter slag, concentrate, and ore at equivalent total copper concentrations. Differences may be explained by intrinsic differences in copper solubilization from the source materials, but also by their capability to decrease soil pH (confounding effect). The copper toxicity and bioaccumulation in plants also varied according to soil physicochemical characteristics (e.g., pH and total organic carbon) and the available levels of plant nutrients, such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Chemistry/mineralogy of mine materials, soil/pore-water chemistry, and plant physiological status thus should be integrated for building adequate models to predict phytotoxicity and environmental risk of copper. [source]