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Soil Science Society of America Journal Abstract -

Soil Modification by Colonies of Black Meadow Ants in a New York Old Field1


This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 47 No. 6, p. 1192-1195
    Received: Mar 21, 1983
    Accepted: May 9, 1983

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  1. Mary Ann Levan and
  2. Earl L. Stone2



The above-ground mounds of the black meadow ant Formica fusca L. had an average weight of 8.7 kg and occurred at a density of 109/ha on a small study site in central New York. Both mound and a larger diameter soil column beneath are extensively channelled and result in a coarse fragment concentration or stone line at the 10- to 15-cm depth. Channels extend to at least the 1.5-m depth, and up-ward transport of calcareous subsoil increases Ca and Mg concentrations and pH of the upper profile. In contrast, extensive replacement of the 0- to 10-cm horizon with subsoil reduces its organic matter content by about 50%. Increased concentrations of extractable P and K in the mound and upper mound profile are attributed to exogenous sources. After abandonment the mound columns remain as near-neutral nutritionally enriched microsites that may influence the course of old field succession.

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