Stable organic carbon pool rises in soil under chestnut (Castanea sativa Mill.) forest for timber production after 15 years since grafting onto satin-cut stumps

Mauro De Feudis, Gloria Falsone, Gilmo Vianello, Livia Vittori Antisari


Forest soils represent an important terrestrial organic carbon sink and the management practices could affect this C pool. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the effect of a forest restoration on the quantity and quality of the soil organic C (SOC). Since the widespread distribution of European chestnut (Castanea sativa Mill.) trees in European temperate forests, a 15 years old chestnut forest for timber production was selected on Northern Apennine chain (Italy) which was established on a clear–cut old chestnut stand. The soil sampling was performed in November 2004 (t0, before grafting), 2008 (t1) and 2019 (t2) through the digging of minipits down to 10 – 30 cm. In each minipit the surface and subsurface horizons were sampled and analysed for the determination of the total organic C content (TOC), and the C of fulvic acids (FA–C), humic acids (HA–C), humin (humin–C) and non–humic substances. Then, the total organic C stock (OCstock), the humification index (HI) and the humification rate (HR) were calculated. From t0 to t2 the mean thickness of subsurface horizon increased likely due both to the tree roots development and to the increased canopy cover due to tree growth which probably reduced the soil erosion. Generally, both TOC content and OCstock did not change over time. The FA–C and HA–C concentrations, instead, more sensitive to the change of management practises, generally reduced over time. This trend was also confirmed by the decline of HR. The humin–C content increased indicating an accumulation of the most recalcitrant SOC pool  over time. Hence, the restoration of chestnut stands in mountainous areas, beyond to be a valid economic practice, has beneficial effects on the soil capacity to storage stable C.


chestnut forest; soil organic carbon; organic matter pools; forest restoration; mountain soil

Full Text:

PDF (English)


ADELI A., BROOKS J.P., READ J.J., MCGREW R., JENKINS J.N. (2019) Post-reclamation age effects on soil physical properties and microbial activity under forest and pasture ecosystems. Commun. Soil Sci. Plant Anal., 50:20–34.

ALBALADEJO J., ORTIZ R., GARCIA-FRANCO N., NAVARRO A.R., ALMAGRO M., PINTADO J.G., MARTÍNEZ-MENA M. (2013) Land use and climate change impacts on soil organic carbon stocks in semi-arid Spain. J. Soils Sediments, 13:265–277.

ALMENDROS G., GONZÁLEZ-VILA F.J. (1987) Degradative studies on a soil humin fraction-sequential degradation of inherited humin. Soil Biol. Biochem., 19:513–520.

AUBERT M., BUREAU F., ALARD D., BARDAT J. (2004) Effect of tree mixture on the humic epipedon and vegetation diversity in managed beech forests (Normandy, France). Can. J. For. Res., 34:233–248.

BARRON-GAFFORD G., MARTENS D., GRIEVE K., BIEL K., KUDEYAROV V., MCLAIN J.E.T., LIPSON D., MURTHY R. (2005) Growth of Eastern Cottonwoods (Populus deltoides) in elevated [CO2] stimulates stand-level respiration and rhizodeposition of carbohydrates, accelerates soil nutrient depletion, yet stimulates above- and belowground biomass production. Glob. Chang. Biol., 11:1220–1233.

BLAIR G.J., LEFROY R.D., LISLE L. (1995) Soil carbon fractions based on their degree of oxidation, and the development of a carbon management index for agricultural systems. Aust. J. Agric. Res., 46:1459–1466.

BONIFACIO E., SANTONI S., CUDLI, P., ZANINI E. (2008) Effect of dominant ground vegetation on soil organic matter quality in a declining mountain spruce forest of central Europe. Boreal Environ. Res.,13:113–120.

BORRELLI P., PAUSTIA, K., PANAGOS P., JONES A., SCHÜTT B., LUGAT, E. (2016. Effect of good agricultural and environmental conditions on erosion and soil organic carbon balance: A national case study. Land use policy, 50:408–421.

CASANOVA M., TAPIA E., SEGUEL O., SALAZAR O. (2016) Direct measurement and prediction of bulk density on alluvial soils of central Chile. Chil. J. Agric. Res., 76:105–113.

CEBALLOS A., MARTÍNEZ-FERNÁNDEZ J., SANTOS F., ALONSO P. (2002) Soil-water behaviour of sandy soils under semi-arid conditions in the Duero Basin (Spain). J. Arid Environ., 51:501–519.

CIAVATTA C., VITTORI ANTISARI L., SEQUI P. (1989) Determination of organic carbon in soil and fertiliser. Commun. Soil Sci. Plant Anal., 20:759–773.

CIAVATTA C., GOVI M., VITTORI ANTISARI L.., SEQUI P. (1990) Characterization of humified compounds by extraction and fractionation on solid polyvinylpyrrolidone. J. Chromatogr., A 509:141–146.

CONEDERA M., TINNER W., KREBS P., DE RIGO D., CAUDULLO G. (2016) Castanea sativa in Europe: distribution, habitat, usage and threats, in: European Atlas of Forest Tree Species. p. e0125e0+.

DAZIO E. (PLINIO RINALDO), CONEDERA M., SCHWARZ M. (2018) Impact of different chestnut coppice managements on root reinforcement and shallow landslide susceptibility. For. Ecol. Manage., 417:63–76.

DE FEUDIS M., CARDELLI V., MASSACCESI L., TRUMBORE S.E., VITTORI ANTISARI L., COCCO S., CORTI G., AGNELLI A. (2019) Small altitudinal change and rhizosphere affect the SOM light fractions but not the heavy fraction in European beech forest soil. Catena, 181:104091.

DÜMIG A., SMITTENBERG R., KÖGEL-KNABNER I. (2011) Concurrent evolution of organic and mineral components during initial soil development after retreat of the Damma glacier, Switzerland. Geoderma, 163:83–94.

DUVAL, M.E., GALANTINI, J.A., MARTÍNEZ, J.M., LÓPEZ, F.M., WALL, L.G. (2016) Sensitivity of different soil quality indicators to assess sustainable land management: Influence of site features and seasonality. Soil Tillage Res., 159:9–22.

Jobbágy E., Jackson R. (2000) The vertical distribution of soil organic carbon and its relation to climate and vegetation. Ecol. Appl., 10:423–436.

FAO, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (2014) International soil classification system for naming soils and creating legends for soil maps. World Ref. Base Soil Resour. 2014, Updat. 2015 World Soil, 203.

FISSORE C., DALZELL B.J., BERHE A.A., VOEGTLE M., EVANS M., WU A. (2017) Influence of topography on soil organic carbon dynamics in a Southern California grassland. Catena, 149:140–149.

FREY B., HAGEDORN F., GIUDICI F. (2006) Effect of girdling on soil respiration and root composition in a sweet chestnut forest. For. Ecol. Manage., 225:271–277.

GRÜNEBERG E., SCHÖNING I., RIEK W., ZICHE D., EVERS J. (2019) Carbon stocks and sarbon stock changes in German forest soils, In: Status and Dynamics of Forests in Germany, 167–198.

GUIMARÃES D.V., GONZAGAM.I.S., DA SILVA T.O., DA SILVA T.L., DA SILVA DIAS N., MATIAS M.I.S. (2013) Soil organic matter pools and carbon fractions in soil under different land uses. Soil Tillage Res., 126:177–182.

GYSSELS G., POESEN J., BOCHET E., LI Y. (2005) Impact of plant roots on the resistance of soils to erosion by water: A review. Prog. Phys. Geogr., 29:189–217.

HYVÖNEN,R., KAARAKKA L., LEPPÄLAMMI-KUJANSUU J., OLSSON B.A., PALVIAINEN,M., VEGERFORS-PERSSON B., HELMISAARI H.S. (2016) Effects of stump harvesting on soil C and N stocks and vegetation 8-13 years after clear-cutting. For. Ecol. Manage., 371:23–32.

IUSS WORKING GROUP WRB. 2015. World Reference Base for Soil Resources 2014, update 2015International soil classification system for naming soils and creating legends for soil maps. World Soil Resources Reports No. 106. FAO, Rome.

JANZEN H.H. (2004) Carbon cycling in earth systems - A soil science perspective. Agric. Ecosyst. Environ., 104:399–417.

JENNY H. (1958) Role of the plant factor in the pedogenic functions. Ecology 39, 5.

KAISER K., KALBITZ K. (2012) Cycling downwards - dissolved organic matter in soils. Soil Biol. Biochem., 52:29–32.

KOVEN C.D., HUGELIUS G., LAWRENCE D.M., WIEDER W.R. (2017) Higher climatological temperature sensitivity of soil carbon in cold than warm climates. Nat. Clim. Chang., 7:817–822.

KŘEČEK J., NOVAKOVA J., PALAN L., PAZOURKOVA E. (2019) Soil conservation in a forested mountain catchment. Int. J. Environ. Qual., 33:27–36.

LAL R. (2008) Carbon sequestration. Philos. Trans. R. Soc. B Biol. Sci., 363:815–830.

LANG, P., DANE, F., KUBISIAK, T.L., HUANG, H. (2007) Molecular evidence for an Asian origin and a unique westward migration of species in the genus Castanea via Europe to North America. Mol. Phylogenet. Evol., 43:49–59.

LEONAVIČIUTĖ N. (2000) Predicting soil bulk and particle densities by pedotransfer functions from existing soil data in Lithuania. Geogr. metraštis, 33:317–330.

MA Y., GENG Y., HUANG Y., SHI Y., NIKLAUS P.A., SCHMID B., HE J.S. (2013) Effect of clear-cutting silviculture on soil respiration in a subtropical forest of China. J. Plant Ecol., 6:335–348.

MASSACCESI L., DE FEUDIS,M., AGNELLI A.E., NASINI L., REGNI L., D’ASCOLI R., CASTALDI S., PROIETTI P., AGNELLI A. (2018) Organic carbon pools and storage in the soil of olive groves of different age. Eur. J. Soil Sci., 69:843–855.

NIKODEMUS O., KASPARINSKIS R., KUKULS I. (2013) Influence of afforestation on soil genesis, morphology and properties in glacial till deposits. Arch. Agron. Soil Sci., 59:449–465.

OBALUM S.E., CHIBUIKE G.U., PETH S., OUYANG Y. (2017) Soil organic matter as sole indicator of soil degradation. Environ. Monit. Assess., 189:176.

PATERSON E. (2003). Importance of rhizodeposition in the coupling of plant and microbial productivity. Eur. J. Soil Sci., 54:741–750.

PATRÍCIO M.S., NUNES L., MONTEIRO M.L. (2019) Does the application of silvicultural management models drive the growth and stem quality of sweet chestnut coppices towards sustainability? New For.

PEZZI G., MARESI G., CONEDERA M., FERRARI C. (2011) Woody species composition of chestnut stands in the Northern Apennines: The result of 200 years of changes in land use. Landsc. Ecol., 26:1463–1476.

POEPLAU C., DON A., VESTERDAL L., LEIFELD J., VAN WESEMAEL B., SCHUMACHER J., GENSIOR A. (2011) Temporal dynamics of soil organic carbon after land-use change in the temperate zone - carbon response functions as a model approach. Glob. Chang. Biol.,17:2415–2427.

REDMILE-GORDON M., GREGORY A.S., WHITE R.P., WATTS C.W. (2020) Soil organic carbon, extracellular polymeric substances (EPS), and soil structural stability as affected by previous and current land-use. Geoderma 363, 114143.

SANTINI N.S., ADAME M.F., NOLAN R.H., MIQUELAJAUREGUI Y., PIÑERO D., MASTRETTA-YANES A., CUERVO-ROBAYO Á.P., EAMUS D. (2019) Storage of organic carbon in the soils of Mexican temperate forests. For. Ecol. Manage., 446:115–125.

SCHMIDT M.W.I., TORN M.S., ABIVEN S., DITTMAR T., GUGGENBERGER G., JANSSENS I.A., KLEBER M., KÖGEL-KNABNER I., LEHMANN J., MANNING D.A.C., NANNIPIERI P., RASSE D.P., WEINER S., TRUMBORE S.E. (2011) Persistence of soil organic matter as an ecosystem property. Nature, 478:49–56.

SEQUI P., DE NOBILI M., LEITA L., CERCIGNANI G. (1986) A new index of humification. Agrochimica, 30:175–179.

SHAO P., LIANG C., LYNCH L., XIE H., BAO X. (2019). Reforestation accelerates soil organic carbon accumulation: Evidence from microbial biomarkers. Soil Biol. Biochem., 131:182–190.

SIX J., CALLEWAERT P., LENDERS S., DE GRYZE S., MORRIS S.J., GREGORICH E.G., PAUL E.A., PAUSTIAN K. (2002) Measuring and understanding carbon storage in afforested soils by physical fractionation. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J., 66:1981–1987.

SPRINGER U., KLEE J. (1954) Prüfung der Leistungsfähigkeit von einigen wichtigeren Verfahren zur Bestimmung des Kohlenstoffs mittels Chromschwefelsäure sowie Vorschlag einer neuen Schnellmethode. Zeitschrift für Pflanzenernährung, Düngung, Bodenkd. 64:1–26.

STEVENSON F. (1994) Humus Chemistry: Genesis, Composition, Reactions. Humus Chem. p 512.

SUN D., ZHANG W., LIN Y., LIU Z., SHEN W., ZHOU L., RAO X., LIU S., CAI X., AN HE D., FU S. (2018) Soil erosion and water retention varies with plantation type and age. For. Ecol. Manage., 422:1–10.

ŚWITONIAK M. (2014) Use of soil profile truncation to estimate influence of accelerated erosion on soil cover transformation in young morainic landscapes, North-Eastern Poland. Catena 116:173–184.

TARGULIAN V.O., KRASILNIKOV P. V. (2007) Soil system and pedogenic processes: Self-organization, time scales, and environmental significance. Catena, 71: 373–381.

TRUMBORE S. (2009) Radiocarbon and soil carbon dynamics. Annu. Rev. Earth Planet. Sci., 37:47–66.

VITTORI ANTISARI L., FALSONE G., CARBONE S., VIANELLO G. (2013) Short-term effects of forest recovery on soil carbon and nutrient availability in an experimental chestnut stand. Biol. Fertil. Soils, 49:165–173.

WANG S., WANG X., OUYANG Z. (2012) Effects of land use, climate, topography and soil properties on regional soil organic carbon and total nitrogen in the Upstream Watershed of Miyun Reservoir, North China. J. Environ. Sci., 24: 387–395.

ZHAO K., FAHEY T.J., LIANG D., JIA Z., MA L. (2019) Effects of long-term successive rotations, clear-cutting and stand age of prince Rupprecht’s larch (Larix principis-rupprechtii Mayr) on soil quality. Forests, 10. Doi: 10.3390/f10100932

DOI: 10.6092/issn.2281-4485/10731


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2020 Mauro De Feudis, Gloria Falsone, Gilmo Vianello, Livia Vittori Antisari

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.