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Jimenez M.N.,AGROECOSOST Research Group | Fernandez-Ondono E.,University of Granada | Ripoll M.A.,AGROECOSOST Research Group | Castro-Rodriguez J.,AGROECOSOST Research Group | And 2 more authors.
Land Degradation and Development | Year: 2016

This work studies the influence of two mulching treatments on soil properties and the field performance of afforested holm-oak seedlings (Quercus ilex L. subsp. ballota (Desf.) Samp.) nine years after outplanting. Mulching treatments composed of stones, forest debris, and an untreated control were randomly applied to 180 seedlings (n=60) in January 2001 at the bed level (1 × 1m) in an abandoned agricultural field in SE Spain. Survival, growth measured by means of leaf area, and nutrient concentrations in leaves and soil were measured. Both mulches provided higher survival and greater leaf-area growth than the control, but did not differ in leaf-nutrient concentration. Most of the analysed soil variables were not affected by the mulching treatments at the end of the study period, and, therefore, the soil properties changes by mulching might be slower than expected under semi-arid conditions. © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Martin-Peinado F.J.,University of Granada | Navarro F.B.,AGROECOSOST Research Group | Jimenez M.N.,AGROECOSOST Research Group | Sierra M.,University of Granada | And 4 more authors.
Land Degradation and Development | Year: 2016

This work evaluated how pine plantations established on old fields and degraded lands influence soil properties in comparison with adjacent unplanted areas that undergo into secondary succession, and native forests, analysing the effects of abiotic variables and stand characteristics in the afforestation process. Thirty-two paired sites (pine plantations versus unplanted areas) and 10 native forests were selected in the SE Spain. In total, 74 soil profiles were studied, and 222 composite soil samples were collected at three different depths. Soil organic carbon, cation exchange capacity, and C:N ratio showed significantly greater values in pine plantations in relation to the unplanted areas (0-5cm), and the mean values of soil organic carbon, nitrogen (N), C:N ratio, and cation exchange capacity in these pine plantations were similar to those found under native forests. Only K+ concentrations were clearly higher in the native forests than in the other land uses for all depths analysed. Pine plantations in the drier and warmer areas showed lower soil quality in relation to the paired unplanted areas, as well as the younger and denser ones; it may be because under these situations, more time is needed to produce an improvement. In fact, the paired net variations increased with the stand age and/or tree size. In conclusion, pine plantations were in general more efficient in improving parameters related to soil quality, especially in locations with high soil water retention capacity, which in our study area were found at higher and cooler elevations. © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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