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This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 50 No. 5, p. 1347-1352
    Received: June 16, 1985

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Spatial Variability of Soil pH and Organic Matter in Forest Plantations1

  1. Susan J. Riha,
  2. Bruce R. James,
  3. Gail P. Senesac and
  4. Eric Pallant2



The spatial variability of soil pH and organic matter concentration in 0.4-ha plots of 45-yr old monospecific red pine (Pinus resinosa Ait.), Norway spruce [Picea abies (L.) Karst.], and sugar maple (Acer saccharum Marsh.) stands located on acid Inceptisols in south central New York was examined. Soil was sampled every 5 m along east-west and north-south transects and also every 30 cm around selected individual trees from next to the base to a distance of 120 cm. A geostatistical approach was used to analyze the components of variability that were systematically changing in space, correlated in space or not spatially related. There was little spatial correlation between samples with respect to pH or organic matter. However, there was systematic change in space in some horizons due to the presence of the different tree species. After 45 yr the surface mineral horizon under spruce was slightly (<0.3 pH unit) more acidic than under maple. There were also differences between stands of the different species in organic matter of the Oe horizons but not of the surface mineral horizons. The greatest variability in pH occurred between samples taken at the base of individual trees compared to samples taken 30 to 120 cm away. This effect occurred in the organic horizons of all three stands and in the surface mineral horizons under spruce and pine and was greatest for the pine. The approach employed in this study was useful in determining the effect of different tree species on soil chemical properties, where there was no plot replication.

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