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Indicators of forest soil fertility — temporal changes and anthropogenic impact

Rehfuess, Karl-Eugen
Forstwissenschaftliches Centralblatt 1999 v.118 no.1-6 pp. 88-96
aluminum, ammonium chloride, anthropogenic activities, calcium, carbon, cations, ecosystems, forest soils, forests, humus, information systems, iron, magnesium, manganese, nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, soil fertility, soil pH, soil solution, temporal variation, Central European region
Mainly based on the relevant Central European literature the paper reviews the indicator values and the ecological meaning of a series of chemical soil properties used to assess the fertility of forest sites as well as to monitor temporal changes and effects of human manipulation. Parameters discussed are: - the total concentrations/contents of bioelements like C, N, P, K, Ca, and Mg in the adequately rooted solum in connection with pH and humus form, - the concentrations/contents of base (Ca, Mg, K) and acid (Al, Fe, Mn) cations extractable with NH₄Cl together with the related element saturation indices, and - the bioelement concentrations of the soil solution and the related element fluxes. For a comprehensive understanding of changes in soil fertility, whether driven by natural forces or induced by human interference, and for the identification of causal relationships, a combination of the above-mentioned approaches is necessary. The determination of the whole set of fertility parameters, of course, is only feasible for selected stands and sites of special interest. The existence of modern site maps, however, allows the transfer of knowledge from representative ecosystems to similar forests growing on the same site type and the use of this knowledge via information systems for practical purposes.