Natural Resource Ecology and Management
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Physicochemical and biotic factors influence the binding and dispersivity of soil particles, and thus control soil macroaggregate formation and stability. Although soil pH influences dispersivity, it is usually relatively constant within a site, and thus not considered a driver of aggregation dynamics. However, land-use change that results in shifts in tree-species composition can result in alteration of soil pH, owing to species-specific traits, e.g., support of nitrogen fixation and Al accumulation. In a long-term, randomized complete block experiment in which climate, soil type, and previous land-use history were similar, we evaluated effects of individual native tropical tree species on water-stable macroaggregate size distributions in an Oxisol. We conducted this study at La Selva Biological Station in Costa Rica, in six vegetation types: 25-year-old plantations of four tree species grown in monodominant stands; an unplanted Control; and an adjacent mature forest. Tree species significantly influenced aggregate proportions in smaller size classes (0.25–1.0 mm), which were correlated with fine-root growth and litterfall. Tree species altered soil pH differentially. Across all vegetation types, the proportion of smaller macroaggregates declined significantly as soil pH increased (p ≤ 0.0184). This suggests that alteration of pH influences dispersivity, and thus macroaggregate dynamics, thereby playing a role in soil C, N, and P cycling.
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Russell, Ann E.; Kivlin, Stephanie N.; and Hawkes, Christine V., "Tropical Tree Species Effects on Soil pH and Biotic Factors and the Consequences for Macroaggregate Dynamics" (2018). Natural Resource Ecology and Management Publications. 273.