World Congress of Soil Science Logo 18th World Congress of Soil Science
July 9-15, 2006 - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
International Union of Soil Sciences

Monday, 10 July 2006 - Friday, 14 July 2006

This presentation is part of 158: 3.5C Combating Global Soil & Land Degradation III. Agro- and Forest Ecosystems: Physical, Chemical and Biological Processes - Poster

Ten Year Response of Forest Soil Mesofauna to Soil Compaction and Organic Matter Loss.

Shannon M. Berch, BC Ministry of Forests, Research Branch, 4300 North Road, Victoria, BC V8M 1B8, Canada, Jeff Battigelli, Earthworks Research Group, 10 Naples Way, St. Albert, AB T8N 7E8, Canada, and Jan Addison, Royal Roads Univ, 2005 Sooke Road, Victoria, BC V9B 5Y2, Canada.

The Long Term Soil Productivity (LTSP) study was initiated to determine the long term, i.e. full timber rotation, impacts of soil compaction and organic matter loss on forest site productivity and ecosystem function. The organic matter treatments include an uncut forest control and clear-cut treatment with or without soil compaction and removal of forest floor and woody debris. There are 14 LTSP installations in British Columbia and 3 replicates are in the Sub-Boreal Spruce (SBS) biogeoclimatic zone. At these SBS installations we have monitored the forest mesofauna, including changes in the species of Oribatid mites, over time since disturbance was imposed 10 years ago. In year 1, both soil compaction and organic matter removal reduced the density of soil mesofauna. Stem-only harvesting reduced total mesofauna densities by 20% relative to uncut forest values. A combination of whole-tree harvest and forest floor removal with heavy soil compaction significantly reduced total soil mesofauna densities by 93% relative to the uncut forest control. Removal of the forest floor represents a substantial loss of habitat for most soil mesofauna. The forest floor apparently buffered the mineral soil by limiting both the impact of soil compaction and fluctuations in soil temperature and moisture. The relative abundance of Prostigmata and Mesostigmata increased with treatment severity, whereas that of Oribatida decreased. Species richness of the oribatid mite fauna was reduced as the severity of treatments increased. The number of rare oribatid species (those representing <1% of the total oribatid mite sample) decreased by 40% or more relative to the uncut forest control. Evenness also decreased as treatment severity increased. Oppiella nova and Suctobelbella sp. near acutidens were the dominant oribatid species in both the forest floor and mineral soil, regardless of treatment. We are now examining the changes to the mesofauna communities ten years after that initial disturbance to examine the recovery of the communities with time and relate that to physical and chemical soil properties and the response of the plant community. In addition to the Oribatid mites, we are now also determining the species of collembola and their immediate and 10 year responses to soil disturbance.

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