Soil Microbial Functional Diversity under the Single-Season Influence of Traditional Forest Management in a Sessile Oak Forest of Central Europe
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This one-year study focuses on the responses of a soil environment to the implementation of traditional forest management practices in oak-hornbeam stands with the following treatments: cut (C), cut + litter raking (CR), cut + grazing (CG), cut + litter raking + grazing (CRG) and control (Ctrl). The cut was conducted in 2018 through extremely heavy thinning. In autumn of 2017 and 2018, we sampled the soils, focusing on microbial functional diversity (FD) assessments using BIOLOG EcoplateTM. After one season, the FD was the highest in the Ctrl stand and the lowest in the CRG stand. Furthermore, we detected significant seasonal differences in soil reaction, nitrate nitrogen content, phosphatase activity and microbial biomass among the treatments. In particular, the Ctrl stand was defined via FD indices and biochemical and biological soil properties that contrasted mainly with those of the CRG stand defined by the content of mineral nitrogen forms. The soil properties did not differ substantially in the remaining treatments. Of the 31 carbon sources defining FD, 6 were treatment-specific (putrescine, L-arginine, L-serine, L-threonine, D-cellobiose and glycogen), while the remaining carbon sources mainly displayed either uniform high or low activity across the treatments.