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Limits to the bioindication potential of Collembola in environmental impact analysis: a case study of forest soil-liming and fertilization

Geissen, V., Kampichler, C.
Biology and fertility of soils 2004 v.39 no.6 pp. 383-390
Collembola, soil arthropods, indicator species, community structure, case studies, forest soils, acid soils, remediation, soil pollution, liming, fertilizer application, soil chemical properties, Germany
We tested the suitability of the collembolan community as a bioindicator for assessing the effects of forest soil-liming and fertilization on the belowground decomposer community. Our investigation was based on a 5-year survey that took place in a German oak-hornbeam and spruce forest in which amelioration measures took place in 1988, 1994 and 1995, with chemical parameters and Collembola being sampled between 1993 and 1997. To address these questions, we applied new methods which have not yet, to our knowledge, been used in biomonitoring studies on forest soils. We used a time-lag analysis for the detection of directional change and a regression-tree induction to show the relationship between Collembola and soil factors. Soil parameters changed considerably after the onset of liming and fertilization. However, no change was detected in community composition over time, nor was there a relationship between Collembola and soil parameters that would make possible the development of a model with at least a moderate predictive success. Taking into account the effort invested in this study (5-year sampling period, identification of 35,000 Collembola, 99 species, 1,170 chemical analyses), we question the suitability of collembolan communities as a bioindicator for forest disturbance.