Prediction of soil conditions and critical loads based on species and association responses for measured abiotic soil parameters

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingAbstract

Abstract

We collected a database containing approximately 10.000 relevés from the Netherlands with measured soil properties such as soil pH, groundwater table, total N, C/N, NO3, K, etc. Based on these measurements we estimated response curves for species with respect to soil chemistry. Next, we used the averaged soil chemistry per species to predict soil chemistry and groundwater table in relevés where such measurements were lacking. We validated our method for pH on a large set of independent European forest relevés. For many soil parameters response curves could be estimated for only few species due to lack of data. This increases the uncertainty in the predicted soil chemistry. Therefore, we used a set of 160.000 relevés, representing the Dutch vegetation, to estimate more response curves. For each relevé the average soil parameters were estimated as the average over the species with a known response, when at least five of such species were present. We then estimated new response curves for all species. These new response curves suffer from contraction of the response axis caused by 'regression to the mean'. We corrected this contraction by using linear regression. The re-estimated responses were validated on the same set of European forest relevés. For soil pH the average difference between estimated and measured value decreased from 0.53 to 0.38 pH-unit. This method was also used to estimate abiotic ranges for phytosociological vegetation types (associations) for fifteen abiotic soil parameters. 'Optimal' or 'suboptimal' ecological ranges for each species or vegetation type can be defined as percentiles based on frequency distributions. The upper ranges for nitrate concentration and the lower ranges for soil pH will be used to derive critical loads for nitrogen and acid deposition. All responses for species as well as associations can be found on www.abiotic.wur.nl
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFrontiers of Vegetation Science - An Evolutionary Angle. Proceedings of the 51st Annual Symposium of the International Association for Vegetation Science, 7-12 September 2008, Stellenbosch, South Africa.
EditorsL. Mucina
Place of PublicationSomerset West
PublisherKeith Phillips Images
Pages200-201
ISBN (Print)9780958476690
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Event51st Annual Symposium of the International Association for Vegetation Science -
Duration: 7 Sep 200812 Sep 2008

Conference

Conference51st Annual Symposium of the International Association for Vegetation Science
Period7/09/0812/09/08

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