Succession from meadow to mature forest: Impacts on soil biological, chemical and physical properties—Evidence from the Pieniny Mountains, Poland

Justyna Sokołowska , Agnieszka Józefowska , Karolina Woźnica , Tomasz Zaleski


Long-term human agricultural activity in the Carpathian region created meaningful landscape transformations; for example, valuable and high-biodiversity, semi-natural areas were formed. Subsequently, socioeconomic changes after World War II started a trend of decreasing agricultural activity and pasturing, as well as the abandonment of higher-altitude and more-difficult-to-access meadows. As a result, in many cases, landscape transformation, such as secondary forest succession, began to occur. This study examined the influence of natural forest succession by comparing a semi-natural meadow to a 25-year-old forest succession area and an old-growth forested area, taking into account selected soil physical, chemical and biological properties. The study sought to answer the following questions: where are the greater carbon stocks found —in meadows, forest successions or old-growth forests?; does soil microbial activity change during succession?; and does succession cause changes in soil physical properties? The research area was located in Pieniny National Park in southern Poland. No significant differences in the amount of carbon stock or the microbial activity (i.e. microbial biomass carbon content and dehydrogenase activity) were found among the meadow, succession and old-growth forest soil samples. However, the old-growth forest soils showed a much higher invertase activity than the succession and meadow soils. Nevertheless, when we took into consideration variables associated with the microbial properties, and placed these into an ordination space, more visible differences among the meadow, succession and forest samples became apparent. Thus, any discussion of land use in mountainous areas should take multiple aspects into account.
Author Justyna Sokołowska (FoAaE / DoSaA)
Justyna Sokołowska,,
- Department of Soil Science and Agrophysics
, Agnieszka Józefowska (FoAaE / DoSaA)
Agnieszka Józefowska,,
- Department of Soil Science and Agrophysics
, Karolina Woźnica (FoAaE / DoSaA)
Karolina Woźnica,,
- Department of Soil Science and Agrophysics
, Tomasz Zaleski (FoAaE / DoSaA)
Tomasz Zaleski,,
- Department of Soil Science and Agrophysics
Journal seriesCatena, ISSN 0341-8162, e-ISSN 1872-6887, (N/A 140 pkt)
Issue year2020
Publication size in sheets0.5
Article number104503
Keywords in EnglishLand-use change, Succession, Organic carbon stock, Mountain soils, Western Beskids
ASJC Classification1904 Earth-Surface Processes
Languageen angielski
Score (nominal)140
Score sourcejournalList
Publication indicators WoS Citations = 0; Scopus SNIP (Source Normalised Impact per Paper): 2018 = 1.694; WoS Impact Factor: 2018 = 3.851 (2) - 2018=4.149 (5)
Citation count*
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FinansowanieThis research was co-financed from the Forest Fund No. EZ.0290.1.17.2018 and the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Republic of Poland, No. BM–4175/17 and BM-2125/18.
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