Usability of enzyme activity in estimation of forest soil quality
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Taking into account the progressive degradation of soils it is important to assess their quality. Soil quality depends on a large number of physical, chemical, biological and biochemical properties. In the publications available, there are presented three approaches regarding the use of soil properties to estimate soil quality: (1) the use of individual properties, (2) the use of simple indexes and (3) the use of complex indexes derived from combinations of different properties. The purpose of this study was to investigate the possibility to use enzymes as indicators of forest soil quality. Experimental plots (43) were located in central Poland. The study was carried out in a number of diverse fresh forest sites. To assess the quality of forest soils dehydrogenase and urease activity and the degree of base saturation were used. One of the final conclusions point out that enzymatic activity indicates current site condition as well as the changes that occur in soil better than soil physical and chemical properties. In other words, in comparison to soil enzymatic activity, soil physico-chemical properties constitute a less sensitive indicator of soil changes.
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