Assessment of Soil Biological Activity in Northern Aspen Parkland Native and Seeded Pasture Using Bait Lamina

  •  Shawna E. LaRade    
  •  Edward Bork    
  •  Walter D. Willms    


Many native grasslands in the Aspen Parkland of western Canada have been converted to seeded forages. We used bait lamina to test the hypothesis that this change has altered soil biological activity.  Bait lamina removal varied with both vegetation type and soil depth (p=0.03).  Bait removal was 31% in the shallow (0-5 cm) soil profile, and similar between native (32%) and seeded (30%) grassland.  Although bait removal was lower at 5 to 10 cm depth (23%), removal in native grassland was greater (26%) than in adjacent seeded pasture (20%).  As soils did not differ in organic matter or carbon between vegetation types, differences in removal are attributed to other unknown factors.  Bait removal was positively associated with soil temperature (r ? 0.58) in both vegetation types, but negatively to soil moisture (r ? -0.33). Overall, these results suggest replacement of native grassland with seeded forage has altered soil organism activity, and merits further investigation.

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