Isolated Trees in Pasture Landscapes Contribute to and Enhance Soil Health: A Study in the Central West New South Wales, Australia

Robyn Provost, Dennis Hodgkins, Anantanarayanan Raman, Helen Nicol

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Abstract

Isolated farm trees are a distinct feature of the Australian landscape, previously part of a forested landscape, until extensive clearing occurred for agricultural purposes post European settlement. A majority of studies has focused on the beneficial effects of tree clusters, such as shelter belts and windbreaks and little pertains to characterizing the role of isolated farm trees (also referred as isolated farm trees, IFTs). IFTs are generally older than their tree cluster counterparts, with little to no chance of regenerating in a grazed landscape. Both tree clusters and IFTs contribute to the health of the soil by increasing soil nutrients, protecting pastures and stock from harsh weather, reducing erosion levels, providing habitat for vertebrate and invertebrate species and increasing agricultural productivity. With the loss of the IFTs from the landscape, the many benefits they provide have also been lost. The purpose of the study was to examine the role IFTs have on enhancing soil health in pastures using physical, chemical and biological soil-health indicators. Leaf litter and soil sampling and soil CO2 efflux readings were made from beneath the canopy and in the surrounding pasture of nine isolated farm trees (Eucalyptus melliodora, E. viminalis, and E. bridgesiana) in Central-west Tablelands of NSW in spring 2014 and autumn 2015. The results indicate IFTs enhance soil health in pasture landscapes with greater arthropod abundance and diversity, higher rates of soil respiration, greater concentrations of total nitrogen and phosphorous, and lower levels of soil compaction closer to the tree compared with surrounding pasture landscape. Collectively these findings point to a positive influence on soil health in grazed pastures by isolated farm trees.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-107
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Ecology and Environmental Sciences
Volume42
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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tree farms
New South Wales
soil quality
pasture
pastures
farm
soil
Eucalyptus melliodora
Eucalyptus viminalis
health
shelterbelts
windbreaks
soil compaction
soil respiration
plant litter
soil nutrients
arthropods
soil sampling
weather
invertebrates

Cite this

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title = "Isolated Trees in Pasture Landscapes Contribute to and Enhance Soil Health: A Study in the Central West New South Wales, Australia",
abstract = "Isolated farm trees are a distinct feature of the Australian landscape, previously part of a forested landscape, until extensive clearing occurred for agricultural purposes post European settlement. A majority of studies has focused on the beneficial effects of tree clusters, such as shelter belts and windbreaks and little pertains to characterizing the role of isolated farm trees (also referred as isolated farm trees, IFTs). IFTs are generally older than their tree cluster counterparts, with little to no chance of regenerating in a grazed landscape. Both tree clusters and IFTs contribute to the health of the soil by increasing soil nutrients, protecting pastures and stock from harsh weather, reducing erosion levels, providing habitat for vertebrate and invertebrate species and increasing agricultural productivity. With the loss of the IFTs from the landscape, the many benefits they provide have also been lost. The purpose of the study was to examine the role IFTs have on enhancing soil health in pastures using physical, chemical and biological soil-health indicators. Leaf litter and soil sampling and soil CO2 efflux readings were made from beneath the canopy and in the surrounding pasture of nine isolated farm trees (Eucalyptus melliodora, E. viminalis, and E. bridgesiana) in Central-west Tablelands of NSW in spring 2014 and autumn 2015. The results indicate IFTs enhance soil health in pasture landscapes with greater arthropod abundance and diversity, higher rates of soil respiration, greater concentrations of total nitrogen and phosphorous, and lower levels of soil compaction closer to the tree compared with surrounding pasture landscape. Collectively these findings point to a positive influence on soil health in grazed pastures by isolated farm trees.",
keywords = "Bulk Density, Invertebrates, Isolated Trees, Soil Arthropods, Soil Respiration, Total Nitrogen., Total Phosphorus",
author = "Robyn Provost and Dennis Hodgkins and Anantanarayanan Raman and Helen Nicol",
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pages = "93--107",
journal = "International Journal of Ecology and Environmental Sciences",
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TY - JOUR

T1 - Isolated Trees in Pasture Landscapes Contribute to and Enhance Soil Health

T2 - A Study in the Central West New South Wales, Australia

AU - Provost, Robyn

AU - Hodgkins, Dennis

AU - Raman, Anantanarayanan

AU - Nicol, Helen

N1 - Imported on 12 Apr 2017 - DigiTool details were: Journal title (773t) = International Journal of Ecology and Environmental Sciences. ISSNs: 2320-5199;

PY - 2016

Y1 - 2016

N2 - Isolated farm trees are a distinct feature of the Australian landscape, previously part of a forested landscape, until extensive clearing occurred for agricultural purposes post European settlement. A majority of studies has focused on the beneficial effects of tree clusters, such as shelter belts and windbreaks and little pertains to characterizing the role of isolated farm trees (also referred as isolated farm trees, IFTs). IFTs are generally older than their tree cluster counterparts, with little to no chance of regenerating in a grazed landscape. Both tree clusters and IFTs contribute to the health of the soil by increasing soil nutrients, protecting pastures and stock from harsh weather, reducing erosion levels, providing habitat for vertebrate and invertebrate species and increasing agricultural productivity. With the loss of the IFTs from the landscape, the many benefits they provide have also been lost. The purpose of the study was to examine the role IFTs have on enhancing soil health in pastures using physical, chemical and biological soil-health indicators. Leaf litter and soil sampling and soil CO2 efflux readings were made from beneath the canopy and in the surrounding pasture of nine isolated farm trees (Eucalyptus melliodora, E. viminalis, and E. bridgesiana) in Central-west Tablelands of NSW in spring 2014 and autumn 2015. The results indicate IFTs enhance soil health in pasture landscapes with greater arthropod abundance and diversity, higher rates of soil respiration, greater concentrations of total nitrogen and phosphorous, and lower levels of soil compaction closer to the tree compared with surrounding pasture landscape. Collectively these findings point to a positive influence on soil health in grazed pastures by isolated farm trees.

AB - Isolated farm trees are a distinct feature of the Australian landscape, previously part of a forested landscape, until extensive clearing occurred for agricultural purposes post European settlement. A majority of studies has focused on the beneficial effects of tree clusters, such as shelter belts and windbreaks and little pertains to characterizing the role of isolated farm trees (also referred as isolated farm trees, IFTs). IFTs are generally older than their tree cluster counterparts, with little to no chance of regenerating in a grazed landscape. Both tree clusters and IFTs contribute to the health of the soil by increasing soil nutrients, protecting pastures and stock from harsh weather, reducing erosion levels, providing habitat for vertebrate and invertebrate species and increasing agricultural productivity. With the loss of the IFTs from the landscape, the many benefits they provide have also been lost. The purpose of the study was to examine the role IFTs have on enhancing soil health in pastures using physical, chemical and biological soil-health indicators. Leaf litter and soil sampling and soil CO2 efflux readings were made from beneath the canopy and in the surrounding pasture of nine isolated farm trees (Eucalyptus melliodora, E. viminalis, and E. bridgesiana) in Central-west Tablelands of NSW in spring 2014 and autumn 2015. The results indicate IFTs enhance soil health in pasture landscapes with greater arthropod abundance and diversity, higher rates of soil respiration, greater concentrations of total nitrogen and phosphorous, and lower levels of soil compaction closer to the tree compared with surrounding pasture landscape. Collectively these findings point to a positive influence on soil health in grazed pastures by isolated farm trees.

KW - Bulk Density

KW - Invertebrates

KW - Isolated Trees

KW - Soil Arthropods

KW - Soil Respiration

KW - Total Nitrogen.

KW - Total Phosphorus

M3 - Article

VL - 42

SP - 93

EP - 107

JO - International Journal of Ecology and Environmental Sciences

JF - International Journal of Ecology and Environmental Sciences

SN - 0377-015X

IS - 2

ER -