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Long-term conditioning of soil by plantation eucalypts and pines does not affect growth of the native jarrah tree

Orozco-Aceves, M., Standish, R.J.ORCID: 0000-0001-8118-1904 and Tibbett, M. (2015) Long-term conditioning of soil by plantation eucalypts and pines does not affect growth of the native jarrah tree. Forest Ecology and Management, 338 . pp. 92-99.

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Plant species can condition the physico-chemical and biological properties of soil in ways that modify plant growth via plant–soil feedback (PSF). Plant growth can be positively affected, negatively affected or neutrally affected by soil conditioning by the same or other plant species. Soil conditioning by other plant species has particular relevance to ecological restoration of historic ecosystems because sites set aside for restoration are often conditioned by other, potentially non-native, plant species. We investigated changes in properties of jarrah forest soils after long-term (35 years) conditioning by pines (Pinus radiata), Sydney blue gums (Eucalyptus saligna), both non-native, plantation trees, and jarrah (Eucalyptus marginata; dominant native tree). Then, we tested the influence of the conditioned soils on the growth of jarrah seedlings. Blue gums and pines similarly conditioned the physico-chemical properties of soils, which differed from soil conditioning caused by jarrah. Especially important were the differences in conditioning of the properties C:N ratio, pH, and available K. The two eucalypt species similarly conditioned the biological properties of soil (i.e. community level physiological profile, numbers of fungal-feeding nematodes, omnivorous nematodes, and nematode channel ratio), and these differed from conditioning caused by pines. Species-specific conditioning of soil did not translate into differences in the amounts of biomass produced by jarrah seedlings and a neutral PSF was observed. In summary, we found that decades of soil conditioning by non-native plantation trees did not influence the growth of jarrah seedlings and will therefore not limit restoration of jarrah following the removal of the plantation trees.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Elsevier BV
Copyright: © 2014 Elsevier B.V.
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