Soil restitution of organic carbon under cork oak forest in the north of Tunisia


Abstract: Degradation of soil properties, including the reduction of organic matter content,basically induces ecosystem imbalance. The present study was undertaken to characterize thesurface organic carbon content in soils of cork oak (Quercus suber) forest areas in the Mogodsregion, North of Tunisia. In total, 36 sites were studied and 108 samples analyzed (representing11,000ha of cork oak forest). The analyses showed that the restoration of organic carbon (fibric,hemic and sapric organic soil materials) varies from 6.2 to 22.1 tons per hectare with an averageof 15.1 t/ha. The surface water erosion largely affected the distribution of the surface organicmatter (39%), especially in the slope direction. The capacity of the cork oak forest system torequest soil organic matter is considered to be weak. Appropriate management actions, such assoil erosion protection measures and external input of organic matter in new and youngplantations have to be seriously considered to improve the soil restitution of organic carbon undercork oak forest.

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