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Soil enzyme activity in a mediterranean forest after six years of drought

AuthorsSardans, Jordi; Peñuelas, Josep
Issue Date2010
PublisherSoil Science Society of America
CitationSoil Science Society of America Journal 74(3) : 838-851 (2010)
AbstractA 6-yr experiment in drought manipulation was conducted in a Quercus ilex L. Mediterranean forest to simulate the drought conditions projected for the coming decades. We investigated the eff ects of those drought conditions on soil urease, protease, and β-glucosidase activities and the changes in C and N stocks in soil, leaves, and leaf litter. Elimination of runoff and rainfall resulted in lower soil water content than in control soils in autumn, winter, and spring (27, 61, and 53%, respectively). In soils subjected to runoff plus partial rainfall elimination, urease activities were reduced by 25% in autumn, winter, and spring; soil protease activities by 33% in winter and spring; and β-glucosidase by 25 to 30% in summer and spring. Drought reduced the C/N ratio of the leaf litter of the dominant species, Q. ilex, by 11%, indicating a decrease in N remobilization before leaf fall. We therefore did not observe an increase in the C/N concentration ratio in litter and soil as we had expected. Drought decreased N availability in spring, the growing season, by reducing soil NO3 − concentration. Th e reduction in enzyme activities in the droughtaff ected soils was mainly due to the prolonged decrease in water availability and, to a lesser extent, to current soil water availability, mainly in summer, and to changes in the nutritional quality of the enzyme substrate. Th e observed drop in soil enzyme activity can contribute to a decrease in the amount of N liberated and consequently to a decline in the plant N capture, which was observed in some community species such as Arbutus unedo L.
Description14 páginas,6 figuras, 4 tablas.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.2136/sssaj2009.0225
Appears in Collections:(CEAB) Artículos
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