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Forms of Soil Phosphorus in Selected Hydrologic Units of the Florida Everglades

Reddy, K. R., Wang, Y., DeBusk, W. F., Fisher, M. M., Newman, S.
Soil Science Society of America journal 1998 v.62 no.4 pp. 1134-1147
Histosols, inorganic phosphorus, spatial distribution, soil depth, organophosphorus compounds, pollution load, wetland soils, Florida
The Florida Everglades wetland ecosystem is subject to changes in hydroperiod and nutrient loading, resulting in soil P enrichment and changes in vegetation communities. The objectives of this study were to: (i) quantify the forms of inorganic and organic P in soils from four hydrologic units of the Everglades, and (ii) develop empirical relationships among various soil P forms. Soil samples from selected hydrologic units, including the Water Conservation Areas (WCAs) and the Holey Land Wildlife Management Area (HWMA), were obtained at various locations along transects perpendicular to each nutrient input source, while selected field sites were sampled in the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA). Spatial distribution of total P in the surface 0- to 10-cm soil depth showed distinct gradients in the WCAs and HWMA soils, with high total P in soils closer to sources (canals and inflow structures) than in interior, unimpacted areas. Soil ash content and bulk density were also altered as a result of soil subsidence (for EAA soils), hydrology, and nutrient loading (for the WCAs and the HWMA soils). Influence of P loading was primarily confined to the top 30-cm soil depth, with about one-third of the P stored in the inorganic pool (primarily as Ca- and Mg-bound P), and the remainder present as organic P. Inorganic P content was higher in surface soils and decreased with depth. Soil P enrichment indicated that for approximately 5 km from the inflow structures or canals, soils have been impacted by nutrient loading. Empirical relationships developed in this study should be useful for estimating soil P forms at the landscape level, using total P data available for a large number of sites throughout the Everglades region. Florida Agricultural Experimental Station Journal Series no. R-05940. Contribution from the Univ. of Florida Wetland Biogeochemistry Lab.