Effect of Afforestation on Soil Carbon and Nitrogen Content on a Mediterranean Island (Lampedusa, Italy)

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During the 20th century, large surfaces in the Mediterranean countries weresubject to afforestation activities, mostly affecting abandoned agricultural lands.Under semi-arid climate conditions, Pinus spp. were the most frequently usedspecies for these activities. The effect of pine plantations on soil organic carbon(SOC) and nitrogen (N) content in Lampedusa Island (South Italy) was investigated.SOC and soil N content under pine plantations of different ages (14, 24and 43 years since plantation) were compared with SOC and soil N content ingarrigue communities, which were dominated by shrubs, subshrubs and perennialherbs. The results showed that SOC content is affected by plantation age,with values of 26.5, 41.3 and 44.4 Mg ha-1 in soils under pines planted 14, 24and 43 years ago, respectively. There were no significant differences in SOC andN between pine afforestations and garrigues. Our results contribute to improveknowledge on the effect of pine afforestations on soil carbon (C) stocks, aimedto evaluate the optimum management strategies of abandoned agricultural land(spontaneous secondary succession versus plantation) in semi-arid environments.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInnovative Strategies and Policies for Soil Conservation
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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