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Hydrolytic enzyme activities in agricultural and forest soils. Some implications for their use as indicators of soil quality

AutorTrasar-Cepeda, Carmen; Leirós, M. C.; Gil Sotres, F.
Palabras claveSoil enzymes
Soil use
Soil quality
Reforested soils
Reforested soils
Galician soils
Fecha de publicación2008
CitaciónSoil Biology and Biochemistry 40(9): 2146–2155 (2008)
ResumenAlthough a great deal of information exists about the effect of land use on soil enzyme activities, much of this is contradictory and brings into question the suitability of soil enzyme activities as indicators of how land use affects soil quality. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of land use on different soil biochemical properties, especially hydrolytic enzyme activities, with the aim of providing knowledge about the problems related to the use of enzymes as indicators of soil quality. The data presented derive from various studies in which a large number of soils under different types of forest or agricultural management were analysed by the same methods. All of the soil samples were characterized in terms of their main physical and chemical properties, the activity of several hydrolases, microbial biomass C and soil basal respiration. The results indicate that soil use causes a large reduction in organic matter content and that the effect on enzyme activity varies depending on the type of land use or management and the type of enzyme. Furthermore, the enzyme activities per carbon unit (specific activities) in soils affected by land use are almost always higher than in maximum quality soils (climax soils under oak vegetation or oak soils), and land use also generates greater increases in the specific activity as the C content decreases. The mechanism responsible for these increases probably involves loss of the most labile organic matter. Enzyme enrichment is not always produced to the same degree, as it varies as a function of the enzyme and the type of land use under consideration. It is concluded that the complexity of the behaviour of the soil enzymes raises doubts about the use of enzyme activities as indicators of soil degradation brought about by land use.
Versión del editorhttp://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.soilbio.2008.03.015
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