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Title Drivers and function of soil diversity in savannas and tropical forests

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Short title Function of soil diversity

Author(s) Dalitz, H.(1); Fey, M.(2); Gliniars, R.(1); Graiff, A.(4); Gröngröft, A.(3); Grohmann, C.(4); Herpel, N.(3); Kaiser, D.(4); Linsenmair, K.E.(4); Mills, A.(2); Musila, W.(1,5); Oesker, M.(1); Petersen, A.(3); Siegle, M.(4); Todt, H.(1)

Presenting author Mills, A.

Institution(s) (1) Institute of Botany, University Hohenheim; (2) Department of Soil Science, University of Stellenbosch; (3) Institute of Soil Science, University of Hamburg; (4) Department of Animal Ecology and Tropical Biology, University of Würzburg; (5) National Museums of Kenya, Nairobi

Keywords soil heterogeneity, soil diversity, ecosystem stability, termites

Abstract The nature, source and scale of soil heterogeneity are poorly understood. The controls and ecological consequences of such heterogeneity can be inferred or assessed by quantifying soil gradients at different scales. Characterising soil diversity is consequently critical for an understanding of structure and function of African ecosystems. Examples from BIOTA W, E and S African studies will be presented, that (1) demonstrate the role of scale on soil heterogeneity, (2) provide insight into relationships between soil properties and plant distribution and the influence of plants on soil features and (3) show the interaction between soils and termites with regard to enrichment and redistribution of nutrients. By comparing the soil diversity of different systems, the understanding of ecosystem stability and thus resilience to land-use impacts can be derived.
The examples are used to indicate that soil spatial information aids in developing site-specific management plans and models to ensure sustainable management.

Congress Topic Process Analysis

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