Pastures to woodlands: changes in soil microbial communities and carbon following reforestation

Cavagnaro, T. R., Cunningham, S. C. and Fitzpatrick, S. 2016, Pastures to woodlands: changes in soil microbial communities and carbon following reforestation, Applied soil ecology, vol. 107, pp. 24-32, doi: 10.1016/j.apsoil.2016.05.003.

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Title Pastures to woodlands: changes in soil microbial communities and carbon following reforestation
Author(s) Cavagnaro, T. R.
Cunningham, S. C.
Fitzpatrick, S.
Journal name Applied soil ecology
Volume number 107
Start page 24
End page 32
Total pages 9
Publisher Elsevier
Place of publication Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Publication date 2016-11
ISSN 1873-0272
Keyword(s) microbial community composition
mixed-species plantings: phospholipid fatty acids (PLFA)
soil carbon
soil ecology
Summary Reforestation of agricultural lands has the potential to sequester C, while providing other environmental benefits. It is well established that reforestation can have a profound impact on soil physicochemical properties but the associated changes to soil microbial communities are poorly understood. Therefore, the objective of this study was to quantify changes in soil physicochemical properties and microbial communities in soils collected from reforested pastures and compare then to remnant vegetation and un-reforested pastures. To address this aim, we collected soil from two locations (pasture and its adjacent reforested zone, or pasture and its adjacent remnant vegetation) on each of ten separate farms that covered the range of planting ages (0-30 years and remnant vegetation) in a temperate region of southeastern Australia. Soils were analysed for a range of physicochemical properties (including C and nutrients), and microbial biomass and community composition (PLFA profiles). Soil C:N ratios increased with age of tree planting, and soil C concentration was highest in the remnant woodlands. Reforestation had no clear impact on soil microbial biomass or fungal:bacterial ratios (based on PLFA's). Reforestation was associated with significant changes in the molecular composition of the soil microbial community at many farms but similar changes were found within a pasture. These results indicate that reforestation of pastures can result in changes in soil properties within a few decades, but that soil microbial community composition can vary as much spatially within pastures as it does after reforestation.
Language eng
DOI 10.1016/j.apsoil.2016.05.003
Field of Research 050399 Soil Sciences not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective 970105 Expanding Knowledge in the Environmental Sciences
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2016, Elsevier
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