Canadian Forest Service Publications

Short-term impact of forest soil compaction and organic matter removal on soil mesofauna density and oribatid mite diversity. 2004. Battigelli, J.P.; Spence, J.R.; Langor, D.W.; Berch, S.M. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 34(5): 1136-1149.

Year: 2004

Issued by: Northern Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 24562

Language: English

Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)

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This study examines the short-term impact of forest soil compaction and organic matter removal on soil mesofauna, in general, and oribatid mite species, in particular. Both soil compaction and organic matter removal reduced the density of soil mesofauna. Stem-only harvesting reduced total mesofauna densities by 20% relative to uncut forest values. A combination of whole-tree harvest and forest floor removal with heavy soil compaction significantly reduced total soil mesofauna densities by 93% relative to the uncut forest control. Removal of the forest floor represents a substantial loss of habitat for most soil mesofauna. The forest floor apparently buffered the mineral soil by limiting both the impact of soil compaction and fluctuations in soil temperature and moisture. The relative abundance of Prostigmata and Mesostigmata increased with treatment severity, whereas that of Oribatida decreased. Species richness of the oribatid mite fauna was reduced as the severity of treatments increased. The number of rare oribatid species (those representing <1% of the total oribatid mite sample) decreased by 40% or more relative to the uncut forest control. Evenness also decreased as treatment severity increased. Oppiella nova and Suctobelbella sp. near acutidens were the dominant oribatid species in both the forest floor and mineral soil, regardless of treatment. Soil compaction and organic matter removal significantly impacted the density and diversity of soil mesofauna and oribatid mite fauna in the short term at these study sites.