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Soil, land care and environmental research
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Spatial patterns and edge effects on soil organic matter and nutrients in a forest fragment of southern Brazil

Thomas Schröder A B and Frederico D. Fleig A
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Universidade Federal de Santa Maria, Avenida Roraima, 1000, Santa Maria, RS 97105900, Brazil.

B Corresponding author. Email: thomaschroder@gmail.com

Soil Research 55(7) 649-656 https://doi.org/10.1071/SR16186
Submitted: 18 July 2016  Accepted: 1 February 2017   Published: 28 February 2017

Abstract

The discrimination between edge effects and spatial patterns of the availability of soil nutrients exerts a great influence on measures of forest productivity and the global carbon pool. We sampled a regular grid with infill points of topsoil in a 13-ha Atlantic forest fragment and surrounding grassland in southern Brazil, and tested the influence of the underlying spatial nutrient availability and edge effects on this pattern using Generalised Additive Models. Soil phosphorus was controlled by vegetation type. Magnesium and potassium were controlled by parent material and pedogenesis, whereas calcium and soil organic matter were influenced by both processes. The depth of edge influence was estimated at 50 m inside the forest and at 25 m distance from the forest edge in the grassland. These continuous estimates of forest–grassland edge effects in soil nutrient availability may play a major role in determining global ecosystem functioning, as forests and landscapes become even more fragmented.

Additional keywords: Atlantic forest, depth of edge effect, pedogenesis, soil organic matter, trend surface.


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