Evaluation of Soil Quality Indicators in Degraded and Converted Forest Habitats to Rangeland in Western Mazandaran

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Range Management, Faculty of Natuar Resources, Tarbiat Modares University

2 Range Management, Faculty of Natuar Resources, Tarbiat Modares University.


Degradation of forest habitats and change of land cover can have significant effects on the variability of soil quality indicators. In the present study, different soil characteristics in forest habitat (almost intact) dominated by Zelkova carpinifolia, rangeland cover dominated by Festuca ovina and single trees of Zelkova carpinifolia and Ulmus minor, rangeland cover dominated by Dactylis glomerata and Thymus transcaspicus and rangeland cover dominated by Stachys byzantina in Zanus region of Kojoor district of Mazandaran province were examined. For this purpose, 36 soil samples (including 12 samples at spring, summer and autumn) were taken from each land cover from a depth of 0-10 cm and transferred to the laboratory. The results indicating the variability of most of the studied soil characteristics in different seasons of the year under different land covers. Based on the principal component analysis (PCA), higher amounts of clay, macro and micro aggregate, pH, total nitrogen, nitrogen in macro and micro aggregate have lead to increasing soil biochemical and microbial activities (i.e. ammonium, nitrate, carbon microbial ratio and nitrogen mineralization) under Zelkova and Festuca covers. While Stachys and Dactylis cover with higher amounts of sand, carbon in macro and micro-aggregate had the lowest soil biochemical and microbial activities. According to the results of this study, it can be claimed that the presence of tree cover (i.e. Zelkova carpinifolia and Ulmus minor) in habitats can provide better conditions for soil functions, which can be considered by managers to rehabilitate degraded lands.


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