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Plant and Soil
Vol. 376, No. 1-
2 2014, Pages: 211-228

Effect of organic amendment on soil fertility and plant nutrients in a post-fire Mediterranean ecosystem

Antoine Cellier, Thierry Gauquelin, Virginie Baldy, Christine Ballini

Institut Méditerranéen de Biodiversité et d’Ecologie Marine et Continentale, UMR 7263 CNRS-237 IRD- UAPV, Aix-Marseille Université, Centre Saint-Charles, case 4, 3, place Victor Hugo, 13331, Marseille cedex 3, France.

Abstract

Backgrounds and aims

In Mediterranean frequently burnt areas, the decrease of soil fertility leads to regressive vegetation dynamics. Organic amendments could help to accelerate post-fire ecosystem resilience, by improving soil properties and plant nutrition. This study was conducted to assess the potential of a composted biosolid to restore an early post-fire shrubland.

Methods

About 50 Mg.ha-1 of fresh co-composted sewage sludge and green wastes were surface applied 7 months after fire on a silty-clayey soil. We monitored over a 2-year period organic matter and nutrient transfers to soil, nutrient responses of dominant plant species, and ecosystem contamination by potentially toxic trace elements.

Results

Over the experimental survey, compost rapidly and durably improved soil P2O5, MgO and K2O content, and temporarily increased N-(NO3− + NO2−) content. Plant nutrition was improved more or less durably depending species. The most positive compost effect was on plant and soil phosphorus content. Plant nutrient storage was not improved 2 years after amendment, suggesting luxury consumption. No contamination by trace elements was detected in soil and plant.

Conclusions

The use of compost after fire could help for rapidly restoring soil fertility and improving plant nutrition. The increase of soil nutrient pools after amendment emphazised the diversity of plant nutritional traits. Eutrophication risk could occur from high compost and soil P2O5 content.

Keywords: Burnt ecosystem; Phosphorus; Plant nutrition; Sewage sludge compost.


 
 
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