Listen to part of a lecture in a plant ecology class.
So far we have covered biodiversity in the hard wood forest here in the upper peninsula of Michigan from a number of angles.
We've looked at everything from how biodiversity relates to species stability, to competition for forests resources and more.
But now I want to discuss what's called pedodiversity.
Pedodiversity is basically soil diversity.
When we analyze pedodiversity within an area, we are measuring how much variability there is in soil properties and how many different types of soil there are in a particular area .
So we look at soil chemistry, for example, how much nitrogen or magnesium there's in the soil in one spot.
And we compare it with the chemistry of the soil a short distance away.
Until recently, there hasn't been a whole lot of attention paid to pedodiversity.
But that's changing rapidly.
More and more studies are being done in these fields.
There's a link between biodiversity and pedodiversity, an obvious relationship between soils and flora and fauna, which is why pedodiversity really should be considered in forest management .
A high degree of soil variability in a small area is common, particularly within forests.
If you compare soils from a forest with soils that don't come from a forest, the amount of variability will most likely be greater in the forest's soil.
It generally has more diversity.
Um...OK. There are three main causes of pedodiversity within old-growth forest here in our region of Michigan.
One is tree species.
Different species have different influences on soil formation and soil properties.
For example, pine trees drop pine needles.
And those needles add a lot of acid to the soil.
The organic litter of another tree species might add less acid but more of something else.
A lot of different types of trees in an area might mean more pedodiversity.
Another cause? Gaps ... created when trees fall.
You see, where there are gaps, open areas in the forest, the soil there changes.
Um... for instance, without a tree to absorb radiation from the Sun, to offer shade, the full intensity of that radiation reaches the ground.
The soil where the tree used to be heats up.
And without a tree to soak up moisture from the ground, the soil remains wetter than in the surrounding forest.