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Physical properties and organic matter of Fluvisols under forest, grassland, and 100years of conventional tillage

Gajić, B.
Geoderma 2013 v.200-201 pp. 114-119
land use change, deciduous forests, conventional tillage, porosity, long term effects, soil organic matter, soil productivity, bulk density, Fluvisols, clay, soil degradation, arable soils, soil physical properties, infiltration rate, soil sampling, ecosystems, grasslands, silt, Serbia
Although a large number of papers deal with effects of land-use change on soil properties, less attention is directed to the long-term effects of different land-use types on soil physical properties and organic matter in the lowland ecosystems.The objective of this study is to assess the long-term cumulative effects of change in land-use type on some soil properties in the continental lowland ecosystems of Western Serbia. Three adjacent land-use types (deciduous forest, natural grassland and arable soils that have been converted from forests for more than 100years) were chosen for the study. Disturbed and undisturbed soil samples were collected from nine sites at each of the three different land-use types from the depths of 0–10, 10–20 and 20–30cm in noncarbonated Fluvisol. Conversion of forest to grassland and arable soil has led to significant decrease in total porosity (TP), infiltration rate (IR) and soil organic matter (SOM). The bulk density (BD) was lower in forest compared to the adjacent grassland and arable (ex-forest) soils. In addition, microaggregate stability, determined by the clay dispersion ratio (CDR) and aggregated silt and clay (ASC) indices, was significantly higher in forest than in grassland and arable soil. In conclusion, the results of this study indicate that removal of permanent vegetation in the conversion process from forest and grassland areas to cultivated land may lead to loss of soil productivity and serious soil degradation. Obviously, there is a need for greater attention to developing sustainable land use practices in management of these ecosystems to prevent further degradation of soils in the region.