Cite as:
Potthast, K.; Hamer, U. &amp; Makeschin, F. (2009): <b>Impact of litter quality on mineralization processes in managed and abandoned pasture soils in Southern Ecuador</b>. <i>Soil Biology and Biochemistry</i> <b>42</b>(1), 56-64.

Resource Description

Title: Impact of litter quality on mineralization processes in managed and abandoned pasture soils in Southern Ecuador
FOR816dw ID: 693
Publication Date: 2009-09-28
License and Usage Rights:
Resource Owner(s):
Individual: Karin Potthast
Individual: Ute Hamer
Individual: Franz Makeschin
Tropical regions are currently undergoing remarkable rates of land use change accompanied by altered litter inputs to soil. In vast areas of Southern Ecuador forests are clear cut and converted for use as cattle pastures. Frequently these pasture sites are invaded by bracken fern, when bracken becomes dominant pasture productivity decreases and the sites are abandoned. In the present study implications of invasive bracken on soil biogeochemical properties were investigated. Soil samples (0–5 cm) were taken from an active pasture with Setaria sphacelata as predominant grass and from an abandoned pasture overgrown by bracken. Grass (C4 plant) and bracken (C3 plant) litter, differing in C:N ratio (33 and 77, respectively) and lignin content (Klason-lignin: 18% and 45%, respectively), were incubated in soils of their corresponding sites and vice versa for 28 days at 22 C. Unamended microcosms containing only the respective soil or litter were taken as controls. During incubation the amount of CO2 and its d13C-signature were determined at different time intervals. Additionally, the soil microbial community structure (PLFA-analysis) aswell as the concentrations of KCl-extractable C and N were monitored. The comparison between the control soils of active and abandoned pasture sites showed that the massive displacement of Setaria-grass by bracken after pasture abandonment was characterized by decreased pH values accompanied by decreased amounts of readily available organic carbon and nitrogen, a lower microbial biomass and decreased activity as well as a higher relative abundance of actinomycetes. The d13C-signature of CO2 indicated a preferential mineralization of grass-derived organic carbon in pasture control soils. In soils amended with grass litter the mineralization of soil organic matter was retarded (negative priming effect) and also a preferential utilization of easily available organic substances derived from the grass litter was evident. Compared to the other treatments, the pasture soil amended with grass litter showed an opposite shift in the microbial community structure towards a lower relative abundance of fungi. After addition of bracken litter to the abandoned pasture soil a positive priming effect seemed to be supported by an N limitation at the end of incubation. This was accompanied by an increase in the ratio of Gram-positive to Gram-negative bacterial PLFA marker. The differences in litter quality between grass and bracken are important triggers of changes in soil biogeochemical and soil microbial properties after land use conversion.
| Setaria sphacelata | Bracken fern | land use change | priming effect | pastures | soil microbial community structure | 13C natural abundance |
Literature type specific fields:
Journal: Soil Biology and Biochemistry
Volume: 42
Issue: 1
Page Range: 56-64
Publisher: elsevier
ISSN: 0038-0717
Metadata Provider:
Individual: Bernhard Runzheimer
Online Distribution:
Download File:

Quick search

  • Publications:
  • Datasets: