Andivia E, Fernández M, Alejano R, Vázquez-Piqué J
Spatial heterogeneity of soil resources is linked to tree patch distribution in Mediterranean cork oak woodlands. Tree patch distribution modifies soil traits by varying litterfall inputs due to different tree covers.
The spatial heterogeneity of soil resources affects the structure and functioning of the different plant communities on ecosystems. In Mediterranean oak woodlands, the scattered trees play a key role in this spatial heterogeneity and might strongly influence ecosystem functioning and its productivity. The aims were to assess the influence of the spatial pattern of trees and litter nutrient content on the spatial heterogeneity of soil properties. We used a combination of geostatistical techniques and a linear mixed model to evaluate the spatial heterogeneity of soil and the seasonal and spatial variability of litter nutrient content, respectively. Soil parameters showed a high spatial heterogeneity. Tree cover was positively related with soil pH, and the organic matter, N, K, and Ca soil content. The return of nutrients to the soil via leaf fall had a marked seasonality and a high spatial variability, but this spatial variability had no effect on the spatial pattern of soil resources. The spatial heterogeneity of soil in cork oak woodlands is mainly driven by tree patches distribution. The importance of the spatial heterogeneity of soil resources and the spatial pattern of trees on the functioning of the dehesa ecosystem makes it necessary to include them in plant nutrition studies and modeling approaches in these ecosystems.
Andivia E, Fernández M, Alejano R, Vázquez-Piqué J 2015. Tree patch distribution drives spatial heterogeneity of soil traits in cork oak woodlands. Ann. For. Sci.: 1-11. 10.1007/s13595-015-0475-8.
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