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Short-Term Effects of Human Trampling on Vegetation and Soil Microbial Activity

AuthorsRos Muñoz, Margarita Matilde ; García Izquierdo, Carlos; Hernández Fernández, María Teresa; Andrés, M.; Cerro-Barja, A. del
KeywordsHuman trampling
Plant cover
Microbial activity
Metabolic quotient
Enzymatic activities
Issue DateJan-2004
PublisherTaylor & Francis
CitationCommunications in Soil Science and Plant Análisis 35(11-12): 1591-1603 (2004)
AbstractThe increased recreational use of wildernesses and other protected areas has endangered areas of great ecological interest due to the negative effect of trampling on local ecosystems. This article describes the effect of trampling by humans at two different intensities (75 and 200 passes day-1 for 29 days) on the plant cover and on biological and biochemical parameters. We observed that the greater intensity of trampling the fewer vegetation cover and number of studied species remained. Although the soil organic matter content and microbial biomass carbon were significantly larger in the trampled plots than in the control, basal respiration, and enzimatic activities [related with the carbon (C), nitrogen (N), and phosphorus (P) cycles] diminished significantly with the intensity of trampling. Biological and biochemical parameters can be useful as indicators of the effect of trampling in short-term studies.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1081/CSS-120038556
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