Soil Properties and Land Use History: A Case Study in New Hampshire

Langley-Turnbaugh, Samantha J.; Keirstead, Donald R.
December 2005
Northeastern Naturalist;2005, Vol. 12 Issue 4, p391
Academic Journal
New England lands have a complex land-use history. The objective of this research was to determine how past agricultural practices and management history have affected soil properties in three forested areas in southeast New Hampshire. Four transects were established on each site, and moisture content. pH, microbial biomass, O horizon thickness, and A horizon organic matter content were measured. O and A horizon pH values increased with increasing intensity of past management, possibly due to past burning and liming associated with agriculture. A horizons were thicker and contained more soil organic matter at the sites that had been used for agriculture and O horizons were thickest at the least disturbed site, indicating that O and A horizons have different responses to past disturbance intensity. These results suggest that soil properties at these three sites still reflect their agricultural history, even more than 100 years after agricultural abandonment and reforestation.


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