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Revista de Ciências Agrárias

Print version ISSN 0871-018X


RODRIGUES, Ana Raquel et al. Do improved pastures affect enzymatic activity and C and N dynamics in soils of the montado system?. Rev. de Ciências Agrárias [online]. 2015, vol.38, n.4, pp.535-546. ISSN 0871-018X.

Vast montado areas are threatened by degradation, as the result of a long history of land use changes. Since improved pastures have been installed aiming soil quality improvement and system sustainability, it is crucial to evaluate the effects of these management changes on soil organic matter status and soil biological activity, as soil quality indicators. Therefore, a 35-yr old improved pasture and a natural pasture were studied, considering areas beneath tree canopy and in the open. Total organic C, total N, hot water soluble (HWS) and particulate (POM) C, microbial biomass C (MBC) and N (MBN), C mineralization rate (CMR) and net N mineralization rate (NMR) were determined. In addition, for a 1-yr period, soil β-glucosidase, urease, proteases and acid phosphomonoesterase were periodically determined. Improved pasture promoted the increase of soil C and N through POM-C increment, particularly beneath the trees canopies. The two study pastures did not show differences regarding soil microbial biomass, but variations in CMR, HWS-C and N availability (proteases and urease activities) suggest divergent soil microbial communities. Tree regulator role on C, N and P transformation processes in soil was confirmed.

Keywords : C and N mineralization rates; evergreen oak woodland management; organic matter fractions; soil enzymes; soil microbial biomass.

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