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Faculty for Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences

Department Soil Ecology - Prof. Dr. Eva Lehndorff

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Matzner, E; Davies, W: Chemical soil conditions in pristine Nothofagus forests of New Zealand as compared to German forests, Plant and Soil, 186, 285-291 (1996)
In many German forest soils low base saturation of CEC in deeper soil layers was reported and acidic deposition is seen as the major cause of these findings. To test this hypothesis we sampled 5 New Zealand forest soils from pristine beech (Nothofagusfusca, N. menziesii, N. solandri) sites under climatic and geological conditions comparable to higher elevations in Germany. The soils developed from granite and greywacke. Soil samples were analyzed for pH and the exchangeable cations were extracted with 1 M NHaCI. The base saturation of all soil profiles was very low, even in deeper layers and was thus similar to the patterns found in many German forest soils. The pH was generally higher in the New Zealand soils as compared to Germany. The reason for the depletion of base cations in deeper soil layers of New Zealand forest soils is most likely the leaching of base cations with HCO~ resulting from the dissociation of carbonic acid in connection with high amounts of seepage. Thus, under high rainfall conditions, the low base saturation found in deeper layers of forest soils cannot exclusively be attributed to the effects of acidic depositions and land use.
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