NadpisSoil organic matter quality and microbial activities in spruce swamp forests affected by drainage and water regime restoration
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AutořiMastny, J, Urbanova, Z, Kastovska, E, Strakova, P, Šantrůčková, H, Edwards, KR, Picek, T
Klíčová slovadrainage, microbial activities, restoration, soil organic matter quality, Spruce swamp forests

The effect of spruce swamp forest (SSF) drainage and water regime restoration on soil organic matter (SOM) quality and soil microbial heterotrophic activities was studied in pristine, drained and restored SSF in the Bohemian Forest, Czech Republic. Sequential chemical SOM fractionation using cold and hot water and hot acid was used to separate SOM fractions according to their mobility and potential lability/recalcitrance, and Fourier transform infrared spectra were used for SOM characterization. Soil physicochemical parameters and heterotrophic microbial activities were also determined. Drainage of SSF had significant long-term effects (more than 50 yr) on plant communities and SOM quality. On drained sites, cover of sphagnum moss and sedge was much smaller than on pristine locations. A greater proportion of recalcitrant compounds and a smaller proportion of labile compounds were found in drained SSF as compared to pristine sites, which first led to an energy limitation and was followed by a decrease in microbial biomass and heterotrophic microbial activities (CO2 production, methanogenesis and methanotrophy). Restoration resulted in slow progressive changes in the vegetation cover, including the spread of sphagnum mosses, retreat of mosses typical of drier conditions and increased sedge cover compared with drained SSF. Moreover, soil physicochemical parameters (pH and bulk density), hot-water-extractable C and methanotrophic activity tended to evolve towards the pristine SSF and seem to be good indicators of the restoration process. No other SOM fractions changed significantly after restoration. Thus, to change significantly overall SOM quality and most microbial heterotrophic activities following restoration, more than 7 yr are required.