Soils formed from ultramafic rocks are normally by pH values close to neutrality, a high base status and are usually rich in Mg, Fe and heavy metals. The low Ca/Mg ratio and the high heavy metal content could cause toxic effects in the biological communities. Plant communities, in particular, are usually different from nearby areas with different substrates and rich in endemisms and adapted species and subspecies. Despite their great environmental and ecological interest, pedological and ecological properties of mountain or boreal soils developed on similar substrates have seldom been studied worldwide. 198 soil pits (associated with phytosociological surveys) have been opened and analyzed in the ophiolitic area of Mont Avic Natural Park (Val d’Aosta, Western Alps, Italy), beween 900 and 2900 m above see level. Soils formed from ultramafic, mafic rocks and calcschists have been observed, in order to recognize the most ecologically important soil factors. The results show that soil properties are related with altitude and slope aspect in forest habitats, while the effect of substrate becomes important above timberline. Strong leaching in forest soils, related to high acidity and to the podzolization process, decrease the total and bioavailable heavy metal contents, above the treeline pedogenic and geomorphic processes release and accumulate large quantities of potentially hazardous trace elements. The plant communities strictly depend on the edaphic properties above the treeline, while in the forest habitats the differences caused by substrate are less discernible. Microbial and microarthropodal communities suffer stress caused by heavy metals in forest soils, while at the alpine level non significant statistical or ecological correlation are visible. Heavy metals (Ni, in particular) are the most important edaphic properties in differentiating plant communities on different substrata, while the Ca/Mg ratio (usually considered the most influencing soil properties on ultramafic soils) has no particular ecological effect.

(2009). Soil ecology and pedogenesis on ophiolitic materials in the western Alps (Mont Avic Natural Park, North-western Italy): soil properties and their relationships with substrate, vegetation and biological activity. (Tesi di dottorato, Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca, 2009).

Soil ecology and pedogenesis on ophiolitic materials in the western Alps (Mont Avic Natural Park, North-western Italy): soil properties and their relationships with substrate, vegetation and biological activity

D'AMICO, MICHELE EUGENIO
2009

Abstract

Soils formed from ultramafic rocks are normally by pH values close to neutrality, a high base status and are usually rich in Mg, Fe and heavy metals. The low Ca/Mg ratio and the high heavy metal content could cause toxic effects in the biological communities. Plant communities, in particular, are usually different from nearby areas with different substrates and rich in endemisms and adapted species and subspecies. Despite their great environmental and ecological interest, pedological and ecological properties of mountain or boreal soils developed on similar substrates have seldom been studied worldwide. 198 soil pits (associated with phytosociological surveys) have been opened and analyzed in the ophiolitic area of Mont Avic Natural Park (Val d’Aosta, Western Alps, Italy), beween 900 and 2900 m above see level. Soils formed from ultramafic, mafic rocks and calcschists have been observed, in order to recognize the most ecologically important soil factors. The results show that soil properties are related with altitude and slope aspect in forest habitats, while the effect of substrate becomes important above timberline. Strong leaching in forest soils, related to high acidity and to the podzolization process, decrease the total and bioavailable heavy metal contents, above the treeline pedogenic and geomorphic processes release and accumulate large quantities of potentially hazardous trace elements. The plant communities strictly depend on the edaphic properties above the treeline, while in the forest habitats the differences caused by substrate are less discernible. Microbial and microarthropodal communities suffer stress caused by heavy metals in forest soils, while at the alpine level non significant statistical or ecological correlation are visible. Heavy metals (Ni, in particular) are the most important edaphic properties in differentiating plant communities on different substrata, while the Ca/Mg ratio (usually considered the most influencing soil properties on ultramafic soils) has no particular ecological effect.
PREVITALI, FRANCO
serpentinite, soil, ophiolites, mountain soil, heavy metals, soil ecology, podzolization, plant-soil relationships, serpentine soils, nickel, biological soil quality
AGR/14 - PEDOLOGIA
English
Scuola di dottorato di Scienze
SCIENZE AMBIENTALI - 09R
22
2008/2009
(2009). Soil ecology and pedogenesis on ophiolitic materials in the western Alps (Mont Avic Natural Park, North-western Italy): soil properties and their relationships with substrate, vegetation and biological activity. (Tesi di dottorato, Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca, 2009).
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10281/10401
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