Key words Mesquite
Carbon dioxide production
Microbial biomass carbon
Nitrous oxide production
Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Agriculture, Forestry, Horticulture, Fishery, Domestic Science, Nutrition
Abstract In the central highlands of Mexico, the vegetation is dominated by mesquite (Prosopis spp.), a leguminous tree or shrub. An experiment was carried out to investigate how cultivating the land and the disappearance of the natural ecosystem affected the biological functioning of the soil. Soil was sampled from under the canopy of isolated (MESQ treatment) and densely growing mesquite trees (DENS treatment), from the surrounding soil not covered by the canopies of the trees (BARE treatment) and from adjacent land cultivated with maize (ARABLE treatment). Soil was characterized and then incubated aerobically for 39 days at 22±1 °C and CO2, N2O production, microbial biomass C and inorganic N concentrations were monitored. The organic C content was 2.3 times and 1.1 times greater in the MESQ and the BARE treatments, respectively, than in the ARABLE treatment, while microbial biomass C was 3.5 times and 1.3 times greater. The microbial biomass activity as expressed by CO2 production was 5.9 times and 3.9 times greater in the MESQ and the BARE treatments, respectively, than in the ARABLE treatment, while N mineralization, as witnessed by the increase in NO3 – concentrations, was 3.4 times and 1.7 times greater. No significant amounts of N2O were produced in any of the treatments. It was found that cultivating land characterized by the presence of mesquite changed its characteristics profoundly, and even soil not covered by tree canopies had higher microbial biomass C, and C and N mineralization than soil cultivated with maize and beans.
Type of Medium: