Blázquez Salcedo, Ana Isabel
Seasonal evolution of soil respiration in a mixed forestry
plantation of walnuts (Juglans × intermedia Carr.) and alders
(Alnus cordata (Loisel.) Duby) in Domaine de Restinclières
Proyecto Fin de Carrera / Trabajo Fin de Grado, E.T.S.I. Agrónomos (UPM) [antigua denominación].
The ecological intensification of crops is proposed as a solution to the growing demand of agricultural and forest resources, in opposition to intensive monocultures. The
introduction of mixed cultures as mixtures between nitrogen fixing species and non nitrogen fixing species intended to increase crop yield as a result of an improvement of
the available nitrogen and phosphorus in soil. Relationship between crops have received little attention despite the wide range of advantages that confers species diversity to these systems, such as increased productivity, resilience to disruption and ecological sustainability. Forests and forestry plantations can develop an important role in storing carbon in their tissues, especially in wood which become into durable product. A simplifying parameter to analyze the amount allocated carbon by plantation is the TBCA (total belowground carbon allocation), whereby, for short periods and mature plantations, is admitted as the subtraction between soil carbon efflux and litterfall. Soil respiration depends on a wide range of factors, such as soil temperature and soil water content, soil fertility, presence and type of vegetation, among others.
The studied orchard is a mixed forestry plantation of hybrid walnuts(Juglans × intermedia Carr.) for wood and alders (Alnus cordata (Loisel.) Duby.), a nitrogen fixing specie through the actinomycete Frankia alni ((Woronin, 1866) Von Tubeuf 1895). The study area is sited at Restinclières, a green area near Montpellier
(South of France).
In the present work, soil respiration varied greatly throughout the year, mainly influenced by soil temperature. Soil water content did not significantly influence the
response of soil respiration as it was constant during the measurement period and under no water stress conditions. Distance between nearest walnut and measurement was also a highly influential factor in soil respiration. Generally there was a decreasing trend in soil respiration when the distance to the nearest tree increased. It was also analyzed the response of soil respiration according to alder presence and fertilizer management (50 kg N·ha-1·año-1 from 1999 to 2010). None of these treatments
significantly influenced soil respiration, although previous studies noticed an inhibition in rates of soil respiration under fertilized conditions and high rates of available nitrogen. However, treatments without fertilization and without alder presence obtained higher respiration rates in those cases with significant differences. The lack of significant differences between treatments may be due to the high coefficient of variation experienced by soil respiration measurements. Finally an asynchronous fluctuation was observed between soil respiration and litterfall during senescence period. This is possibly due to the slowdown in the emission of exudates by roots during senescence period, which are largely related to microbial activity.