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Spatial variability of the properties of marsh soils and their impact on vegetation

Sidorova, V. A., Svyatova, E. N., Tseits, M. A.
Eurasian soil science 2015 v.48 no.3 pp. 223-230
Algae, Fluvisols, carbon, cluster analysis, forests, grasses, halophytes, humus, ions, marshes, plant communities, soil heterogeneity, soil pH, soil solution, streams, wood
Spatial variability of the properties of soils and the character of vegetation was studied on seacoasts of the Velikii Island in the Kandalaksha Bay of the White Sea. It was found that the chemical and physicochemical properties of marsh soils (Tidalic Fluvisols) are largely dictated by the distance from the sea and elevation of the sampling point above sea level. The spatial distribution of the soil properties is described by a quadratic trend surface. With an increase in the distance from the sea, the concentration of ions in the soil solution decreases, and the organic carbon content and soil acidity become higher. The spatial dependence of the degree of variability in the soil properties is moderate. Regular changes in the soil properties along the sea-land gradient are accompanied by the presence of specific spatial patterns related to the system of temporary water streams, huge boulders, and beached heaps of sea algae and wood debris. The cluster analysis made it possible to distinguish between five soil classes corresponding to the following plant communities: barren surface (no permanent vegetation), clayey-sandy littoral with sparse halophytes, marsh with large rhizomatous grasses, and grass-forb-bunchberry vegetation of forest margins. The subdivision into classes is especially distinct with respect to the concentration of chloride ions. The following groups of factors affect the distribution of vegetation: the composition of the soil solution, the height above sea level, the pH of water suspensions, and the humus content.