Forest Investment Account

Abstract of FIA Project Y051093

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Ten year soil fauna responses to soil compaction and organic matter removal at Sub-Boreal Spruce LTSP:

Author(s): Berch, Shannon Marie
Imprint: Victoria, B.C. : Ministry of Forests, 2005
Subject: Forest Investment Account (FIA), Soil Ecology, British Columbia
Series: Forest Investment Account (FIA) - Forest Science Program


Soil fauna are important for plant nutrient availability and soil structure. We are examining the changes to and responses of soil mesofauna and macrofauna communities to different levels of soil disturbance applied 10 years earlier. This work is being carried out on the Sub-Boreal Spruce replicates of the Long Term Soil Productivity Study. Immediately after treatment application (i.e. year 1), we found that both soil compaction and organic matter removal had reduced the density of soil mesofauna. Loss of forest floor represented a substantial loss of habitat for most soil mesofauna. The forest floor apparently buffered the mineral soil by limiting the impact of soil compaction. Diversity of the oribatid mite fauna and species richness were significantly reduced as the severity of treatments increased. Furthermore, 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. In 2004, we finished 10th year sampling by collecting soil samples from the third replicate near Williams Lake, extracted the soil fauna from the soil samples, and sorted and counted them. Preliminary observation of the data suggests that soil macro- and mesofauna communities are still depressed 10 years after treatment application.

For further information, please contact Shannon M. Berch, BC Ministry of Forests - Research Branch (

Updated September 08, 2005 

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