EVALUATION OF IMPACT OF FERTILIZATION ON SOIL SOLUTION CHEMISTRY IN DOMINATED FOREST SITE TYPES IN LATVIA
Enhanced forest growth may respond to the increasing demand for wood resources. Moreover, the forest is considered to be carbon storage, thus contributing to climate change mitigation. The forest soil fertilization, as well as forest drainage, thinning and regeneration may be an effective measure in increasing harvest rates. In the context of bio-economy, wood ash needs to be managed and can be utilized as an equivalent to potassium and phosphorus containing fertilizer. Ammonium nitrate can be used as fertilizer in forests on mineral soil since nitrogen is considered to be a tree growth limiting element in boreal forests. However, environmental aspects like leaching of the fertilizer should be taken into account. The aim of this research is to evaluate the impact of wood ash, ammonium nitrate and combined wood ash and nitrogen fertilizer impact on the chemical properties of soil water in dominated forest site types in Latvia. The trials were conducted in total in 16 forest stands. The fertilizers were spread in treatment plots, but the control plots were left untreated. The soil water samples were collected for two seasons. The pH, potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphate and total nitrogen were determined in the soil water samples. Ammonium nitrate had an impact on the elevated concentration of total nitrogen in all experimental objects; although the significant differences between the control plot and treated plot were detected only in a part of experimental objects. The elevated concentrations of total nitrogen decreased after two months and remained above the control level. Interestingly, we observed a trend of both – increased and decreased concentrations of potassium, calcium, magnesium and phosphate. Nevertheless, only a part of the differences was statistically significant. The impact of wood ash on chemical properties of soil water was less pronounced in comparison to ammonium nitrate.