Year 1 - Developing Indicators of Soil Productivity, Function and Biodiversity through Soil Biotic Communities
Project Reference Number: 2006-08
Project Status: Complete
Led by: Marty Kranabetter, Soil Scientist, Ministry of Forests and Range, VictoriaPatrick Williston; Brad Culling; Jodi Friesen; Robert Forsyth; Rick Trowbridge; Sharmin Gamiet; Paul Kroeger; Michelle Seidl
Funder: Forest Investment Account - Forest Science Program
More biologically-based indicators of soil function, productivity, and biodiversity would provide more sensitive criteria of management practices. Soil indices could include soil fauna, ectomycorrhizal fungi, or terrestrial nonvascular plants (lichens/bryophytes/liverworts – ‘cryptogams’) (e.g. Pandolfini et al. 1997, van Straalen 1998, Kremsater 2003), both as indicator species or indirectly through community parameters such as functional diversity (Bengtsson 1998).
A network of replicated sites encompassing a full gradient in forest ecosystems (the 02 Pl – Cladonia; the 01 Sxw – Huckleberry; the 06 Sxw – Oak fern; and the 09 Sxw - Devil’s club) will be established in the SBSmc2 in mature stands with a mix of lodgepole pine, hybrid white spruce and subalpine fir. Three large and important biotic communities will be assessed (repeatedly where necessary): ectomycorrhizal species (mushrooms and fine root ECM fungal colonization); soil macro- and mesofauna; and plant (especially the terrestrial bryophyte/liverwort/lichen) species. Taxonomic expertise will be utilized to allow for as complete a species inventory as possible. Species distribution will be compared across site series and tested against measured soil parameters such as N availability and moisture content.
The study will provide information essential to the development of accurate monitoring systems by testing the similarity and uniqueness of soil ecosystems across site series. The study will also identify those soil species indicative of certain habitats or soil conditions which will provide more sensitive tools in the ongoing research of forest soil management. The research will allow for a more complete biodiversity inventory and taxonomy of soil biota in the northern interior, and will lay the groundwork for further ecological studies of soil biota and site productivity.