Soil biota under seeded belts: The effect of vegetation type and influence on soil function
Many agricultural areas of Australia have been subject to extensive clearing, this has contributed to reduced levels of native biodiversity primarily as a result of the removal of native vegetation. The removal of the native vegetation has also resulted in environmental problems and land degradation including erosion, reduced water quality and dry land salinity. There is now an increased awareness of the need to rehabilitate the land to provide essential ecosystem services that have been altered due to extensive agriculture. The re introduction and management that encourages deep rooted native perennial plants have been one method used to restore ecosystem services.
Native seeded belts are vegetation belts of a few row to several rows wide have been established extensively to provide ecosystem services such as increased habitat connectivity in agricultural landscapes. Theses belts provides essential services for soil function and can potentially effect carbon dynamics. Soil biota are known to be essential in biogeochemical cycling, however there is little information on the effect of landscape restoration on soil biotic diversity and function. The role soil biota plays in ecosystem function and in soil carbon dynamics within seeded belts are poorly understood.
My study aims to quantify soil biota under seeded belts in relation to the effect of vegetation type and its influence on soil function. The objective will be to obtain a better understanding above ground and below ground linkages in restored landscapes and the influence of soil biotic community’s in carbon dynamics and landscape restoration. This project will help the development of management practices which promote the beneficial attributes of soil organisms that are essential for sustaining ecosystem function.