Soil properties across a chronosequence of Ailanthus altissima in semiarid plantations

Hamed Aghajani


Afforestation is a main tool for preventing desertification and soil erosion in arid and semiarid regions of Iran. Large-scale afforestation, however, has poorly understood consequences for the future ecosystems in the term of ecosystems protection. The objective of the present study is to identify changes in soil properties following different intervals of planting of Ailanthus altissima (tree of heaven) in semiarid afforestation of Iran (Chitgar Forest Park, Tehran). For this purpose, sand, silt and clay ratios, bulk density, soil moisture, pH, electrical conductivity, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, calcium, sodium, total soil N, and total carbon was measured. Our study highlighted the potential of the invasive trees by A. altissima, to alter soil properties along chronosequence. Almost all soil quality attributes showed a declining trend with stand age. A continuous decline in soil quality indicated that the present land management may not be sustainable. Therefore, an improved management practice is imperative to sustain soil quality and maintain long-term productivity of plantation forests. Thinning activity will be required to reduce the number of trees competing for the same nutrients especially in a older stand to protect forest soils.


Afforestation; Forest Protection; Invasion species; Stand age; Tree of heaven.

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