Resource Details

Soil compaction and topsoil removal effects on soil properties and seedling growth in Amazonian Ecuador

Literature: Journal Articles

Woodward, C.L. 1996, "Soil compaction and topsoil removal effects on soil properties and seedling growth in Amazonian Ecuador", Forest Ecology and Management, vol. 82, no. 1-3, pp. 197-209.


  • Department of Soil Science, 1525 Observatory Drive, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53703, USA


Forest Ecology & Management

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Species Info

  • Caryodendron orinocense
  • Virola elongata


  • This study evaluated the effect of anthropogenic soil disturbance on native tree growth in Amazonian Ecuador.
  • After an company bulldozed a forest for oil extraction, the subsoil was compacted and topsoil scraped around the site. Seedlings of three economically important native species (Cedrelinga cateniformis, Caryodendron orinocense, Virola elongata) were raised in a nursery; 260 seedlings each of the species were planted in plots with 5 different treatments: compacted subsoil with topsoil removed, compacted subsoil with topsoil added, compacted subsoil with topsoil removed and fertilizer added, uncompacted subsoil with topsoil removed, undisturbed forest soil.
  • Cedrelinga and Virola had the highest growth rates in undisturbed soil while Caryodendron had the highest growth rates in the disturbed soil that had fertilizer added.
  • Without fertilizer, subsoil compaction negatively affected height and diameter of Cedrelinga.
  • Topsoil addition increased the diameter growth of Caryodendron. Soil disturbance decreased the survival of Cedrelinga and Virola seedlings, while fertilization increased seedling mortality.
  • The authors assert that the effects of soil disturbance are species specific.
  • In general, there was not much of a negative effect of the compaction on the plant growth in this study.
  • Topsoil removal had greater effect likely due to the loss of nutrients.
  • They suggest that adding nutrients through fertilization or adding organic matter may improve plant growth on disturbed soil.

Geographical Region

  • Amazon Basin
  • Country

  • Ecuador
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