A high degree of soil variability over short distances and small areas is common, particularly in forest soils. This variability is sometimes, but not always, related to readily apparent variations in the environmental factors that control soil formation. This study examines the potential role of biomechanical effects of trees and of lithological variations within the parent material in explaining soil diversity in the Ouachita Mountains of Arkansas. The diversity of soils on Ouachita sideslopes is high, and the soil series vary primarily with respect to morphological properties such as soil thickness and rock fragment content. Soils vary considerably within small more-or-less homogeneous areas, and richness–area analysis shows that the overall pattern of pedodiversity is dominated by local, intrinsic (within-plot) variability as opposed to between-plot variability. This is consistent with variation controlled mainly by individual trees and local lithological variations. Given the criteria used to distinguish among soil types, biomechanical as opposed to chemical and hydrological effects of trees are indicated. Results also suggest divergent evolution whereby the pedologic effects of trees are large and long-lived relative to the magnitude of the initial effects and lifespan of the plants.
richness – area analysis
Phillips, Jonathan D.; Marion, Daniel A. 2005. Biomechanical effects, lithological variations, and local pedodiversity in some forest soils of Arkansas. Geoderma 124 (2005) 73 89