The effects of sod cutting and additional liming on potential net nitrification in heathland soils
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SourcePlant and Soil, 265, 1-2, (2004), pp. 267-277
Article / Letter to editor
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Aquatic Ecology and Environmental Biology
Plant and Soil
The effects of sod cutting, a common restoration measure to remove excess nutrients from grass-dominated heathlands, on nitrification were studied in dry and wet Dutch heathlands and in incubation experiments. In the field, soil ammonium and nitrate concentrations were measured after treatment by sod cutting, with or without additional liming. Potential net nitrification was measured by incubating soil samples of all treatments with extra ammonium in a climate chamber at pH 6. Potential net nitrification of heaths dominated by Molinia caerulea was significantly higher than that of dwarf-shrub dominated heaths. Sod cutting of the former areas significantly decreased potential net nitrification, whereas in the latter areas no differences were found. Liming of sod-cut soils greatly increased potential net nitrification and the accumulation of ammonium in the soil up to toxic concentrations could be prevented. Our results show that the combination of sod cutting and liming would create suitable soil conditions for the germination and establishment of endangered plant species of dry and wet heathlands. The success of restoration projects of these areas can thus be increased.
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