Restoration techniques applying organic amendments: six years of benefits on soil forest properties

P. Hueso-González, J.M. Martínez-Murillo, J.D. Ruiz-Sinoga


Restoring the native vegetation is one of the most effective way to regenerate forest soil health. The seeding and plant establishment stages are critical; but during these stages the beneficial effects of the vegetation may not be apparent, and the soil is highly susceptible to erosion and depletion of soil quality. In the initial months after afforestation, vegetation cover establishment and soil quality could be better sustained if the soil was amended with an external extra source of organic matter. The objective of this study is to analyze the benefits of using different organic amendments on some soil properties. The soil treatment selected were: (i) afforestation with straw mulching treatment; (ii) afforestation with mulch with chipped branches of Aleppo Pine (Pinus halepensis Mill.); (iii) afforestation with cattle manure compost; (iv) sewage sludge and; (v) afforestation in unamended soils, control condition. The amendments were applied at the rate of 10 Mg ha-1. Six years after the amendment application, only the addition of straw and pine mulch have shown a significant increase in soil organic carbon regarding the afforestation under bare soil conditions. Besides, this increase was also directly related with the increase in microbiological activity and aggregate stability. On the other hand, the addition of sewage sludge or cattle manure is not an effective treatment to favor the edaphic structure regarding the afforestation under unamended soils.


organic amendments; afforestation; soil organic carbon; aggregate stability; dehydrogenase


Albiach, R., Canet, R., Pomares, F., Ingelmo, F. 2001. Organic matter components, aggregate stability and biological activity in a horticultural soil fertilized with different rates of two sewage sludges during ten years. Bioresource Technology 77, 109-114.

Allakherdiez, S.I., Sakamoto, A., Nishiyama, Y., Murata, N. 2000. Ionic and Osmotic Effects of NaCL-Induced Inactivation of Photosystems and I and II in Synechococcus sp. Americacan Society of Plant Physiologists 123, 1047-1056.

Almendros, G., Gonzalez-Vila, J., González-Pérez, J.A., Knicker, H., de la Rosa, J.M. 2010. Protocolos y técnicas para evaluar el impacto del fuego sobre la materia orgánica. En: A. Cerdá, A. Jordán (Eds.), Actualización en métodos y técnicas para el estudio de los suelos afectados por incendios forestales. Valencia, Cátedra de Divulgación de la Ciencia, pp. 291-319.

Arendt, J.D. 1997. Adaptive intrinsic growth rates: an interpretation across taxa, Quarterly Review of Biology 72, 149-177.

Baležentienė, L., Klimas, E. 2009. Effect of organic and mineral fertilizers and land management on soil enzyme activities. Agronomy Research (Special issue I) 7, 191-197.

Barto, E.K., Alt, F., Oelmann, Y., Wilcke, W., Rillig, M.C. 2010. Contributions of biotic and abiotic factors to soil aggregation across a land use gradient. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 42, 2316-2324.

Benayas, L.M.1998. Drougth and survival Quercus ilex L. seedlings after irrigation and artificial shading on Mediterranean set-aside agricultural land, Annales des Sciences Forèstieres 55, 801-807.

Bernal, M.P., Roig, A., Lax, A., Navarro, A.F. 1992. Effects of the application of pig slurry on some physico-chemical and physical properties of calcareous soils. Bioresource Technology 42, 233-239.

Bretón, V., Crosaz, Y., Rey, F. 2016. Effect of wood chip amendments on the revegetation performance of plant species on eroded marly terrains in a Mediterranean mountainous climate (Southern Alps, Alpes). Solid Earth 7, 599-610.

Brevick, EC. 2009. Soil health and productivity. In: W. Verheye (Ed.), Soils, plant growth and crop production. Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems (EOLSS), EOLSS Publishers, Oxford, UK. (accessed 5/27/2014).

Casado-Vela, J., Sellés, S., Díaz-Crespo, C., Navarro-Pedreño, J., Mataix- Beneyto, J., Gómez, I. 2007. Effect of composted sewage sludge application to soil on sweet pepper crop (Capsicum annuum varannuum) grown under two exploitation regimes. Waste Management 27, 1509-1518.

Casals, P., Cortina, J., Bottner ,P., Coûteaux, M.M., Vallejo, V.R. 2000. CO2 efflux from a Mediterranean semi-arid forest soil. I. Seasonality and effects of stoniness. Biogeochemistry 48, 261-281.

Casida, L., Klein, D., Santoro, T. 1964. Soil dehydrogenase activity. Soil Science 98, 371-376.

COM 2002. Towards a thematic strategy for soil production. Communication for the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee and the Committee of the Regions. COM (2002). 179 end. Brussels, 16.4.2002.

DMR 2008. Directiva 2008/98/CE del parlamento europeo y del consejo de 19 de noviembre de 2008 sobre residuos. Diario oficial de la unión europea. 312/3 pp.

Dudás, P., Gedeon, C., Menyhárt, L., Ambrus, G., Tóth, F. 2016. The effect of mulching on the abundance and diversity of ground beetle assemblages in two hungarian potato fields. Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences 3, 45-53.

Eaton, J.M., McGoff, N.M., Byrne, K.A., Leahy, P., Kiely, G. 2008. Land cover change and soil organic C stocks in the Republic of Ireland 1851-2000. Climatic Change 91, 317-334.

Erkant, A., Cécillon, L., Graf, F., Roumet, C., Legout, C., Rey, F. 2016. Increase in soil aggregate stability along Mediterranean successional gradient in severely eroded gully bed ecosystems: combined effects of soil, root traits and plants community characteristics. Plant and Soil 398, 121-137.

FAO 2006. World reference base for soil resource. A framework for a international classification, correlation and communication. FAO, Roma, 145 pp.

Ferreras, L., Gómez, E., Torresani, S., Firpo, I., Rotondo, R. 2006. Effect of organic amendments on some physical, chemical and biological properties in a horticultural soil. Bioresource Technology 97, 635-640.

Flanagan, D.C., Norton, L.D., Shainberg, I. 1997a. Effect of water chemistry and soil amendments on a silt loam soil-Part 1: infiltration and runoff. Transactions of the ASAE 46 (6), 1549-1555.

Flanagan, D.C., Norton, L.D., Shainberg, I. 1997b. Effect of water chemistry and soil amendments on a silt loam soil-Part 2: soil erosion. Transactions of the ASAE 46 (6), 1555-1561.

Gajda, A., Martyniuk, S. 2005. Microbial Biomass C and N and Activity of Enzymes in Soil under Winter Wheat Grown in Different Crop Management Systems. Polish Journal of Environmental Studies 14, 159-163.

García-Gómez, A., Bernal-Calderón, M.P., Roig, A. 2005. Humification parameters, organic waste management, organic matter. Compost Science and Utilization 13, 127-135.

Gholami, L., Reza Sadeghi, S.H., Homaee, M. 2012. Efficiency of rice straw mulch as a soil amendment to reduce splash erosion. Erosion and Sediment Yields in the Changing Environment. IAHS Publication 356, 11-15.

González-Fernández, P., Ordóñez-Fernández, R., Espejo-Serrano, R., Peregrini-Alonso, F. 2003. Cambios del pH del perfil de un suelo acido cultivado y enmendado con diversos materiales para incrementar su fertilidad. En: P. Álvarez-Benedí, P. Marinero (Eds), Estudios de la zona no saturada del suelo, Vol. VI.

González-Ubierna, S., Jorge-Mardomingo, I., Carrero-González, B., De la Cruz, M.T., Carsermeiro, M.A. 2012. Soil organic matter evolution after the application of high doses of organic amendments in a Mediterranean calcareous soil. Soils and Sediments 12, 1257-1268.

Guang-Ming, L., Jing-Song, Y., Rong-Jiang, Y. 2006. Electrical conductivity in soil extracts: chemical factors and their intensity. Pedosphere 16, 100-107.

Guerrero, C., Gómez, I., Moral, R., Mataix-Solera, J., Mataix-Beneyto, J., Hernández, T. 2001. Reclamation of a burned forest soil with municipal waste compost: macronutrient dynamic and improved vegetation cover recovery, Bioresource Technology 76, 221-227.

Hallett, P.D., Feeney, D.S., Bengough, A.G, Rillig, M.C., Scrimgeour, C.M., Young, I.M. 2009. Disentangling the impact of AM fungi versus roots on soil structure and water transport. Plant Soil 314, 183-196.

Hueso-González, P., Martínez-Murillo, J.F., Ruiz Sinoga., J.D. 2014. The impact of organic amendments on forest soil properties under Mediterranean climatic conditions. Land Degradation & Development 25, 604-612.

Hueso-González, P., Martínez-Murillo, J.F., Ruiz Sinoga., J.D. 2016. Effects of topsoil treatments on afforestation in a dry-Mediterranean climate (Southern Spain). Solid Earth 7, 1479-1489.

Hueso-González, P., Martínez-Murillo, J.F., Ruiz Sinoga., J.D. 2017. Beneficios de los acolchados de paja y poda como prácticas para la gestión forestal de montes mediterráneos. Cuadernos de Investigación Geográfica 43 (1), 189-208.

Hueso-González, P., Martínez-Murillo, J.F., Ruiz Sinoga., J.D. 2018. Benefits of adding forestry clearance residues for the soil and vegetation of a Mediterranean mountain forest. Science of The Total Environment 615, 796-804.

Hueso-González, P., Ruíz Sinoga, J.D., Martínez-Murillo, J.F., Lavee, H. 2015. Overland flow generation mechanisms affected by topsoil treatment: Application to soil conservation. Geomorphology 228, 796-804.

Iglesias, J.O., Miglierina, A.M., Minoldo, G.V., Rodrriguez, R.A., Ayastuy, M.E. 2015. Efecto de la aplicación de diferentes enmiendas orgánicas sobre algunas propiedades edáficas. En: E. de Sá Pereira, G. Minoldo, J.A. Galantini (Eds.), Impacto de los sistemas actuales de cultivo sobre las propiedades químicas del suelo. Efectos sobre los balances de carbono. Ediciones INTA. Buenos Aires.

ISRIC. 2002. Procedures for soil analysis. Internacional Soil Reference and Information Center, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Wageningen, The Netherlands.

Jiménez, M.N., Fernández-Ondoño, E., Ripoll, M.A., Castro-Rodríguez, J., Huntsinger, L., Bruno Navarro, F. 2013. Stones and organic mulches improve the Quercus Ilex L. afforestation success under Mediterranean climatic conditions. Land Degradation & Development 27, 357-365.

Jordán, A., Zavala, L.M., Gil, J. 2010. Effects of mulching on soil physical properties and runoff under semi-arid conditions in southern Spain. Catena 81, 77-85.

Jordán, A., Zavala, L.M., Muñoz-Rojas, M. 2011. Mulching, effects on soil physical properties. En: J. Glinski, J. Horabik, J. Lipiec (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Agrophysics. Springer, Berlin, pp. 492-496.

Juarez, S., Nunan, N., Duday, A.-C., Pouteau, V., Chenu, C. 2013. Soil carbon mineralisation responses to alterations of microbial diversity and soil structure. Biology and Fertility of Soils 49, 939-948.

Keesstra, S.D., Bouma, J., Wallinga, J., Tittonell, P., Smith, P., Cerdà, A., Montanarella, L., Quinton, J.N., Pachepsky, Y., van der Putten, W.H., Bardgett, R. D., Moolenaar, S., Mol, G., Jansen, B., and Fresco, L.O. 2016. The significance of soils and soil science towards realization of the United Nations sustainable development goals. SOIL 2, 111-128.

Keesstra, S., Nunes, J., Novara, A., Finger, D., Avelar, D., Kalantari, Z., Cerdà, A. (2018). The superior effect of nature based solutions in land management for enhancing ecosystem services. Science of the Total Environment, 610, 997-1009.

Kemper, M.D., y Rosenau, R.C. 1986. Aggregate stability and particle size distribution. En: A. Klute (Ed.), Methods of Soil Analysis, Part.1. American Society of Agronomy. Madison, Wisconsin, pp. 456-442.

Kuhur, M., Gartia, S.K., Patel, A.K. 2012. Quantifying the contribution of diferent soil properties on enzyme activities in dry tropical ecosystems. Journal of Agricultural and Biological Science 7 (9), 763-773.

Lavee, H., Imeson, A.C., Pariente, S. 1998. The impact of climate change on geomorphology and desertification along a Mediterranean arid transect. Land Degradation & Development 9, 407-422.<407::AID-LDR302>3.0.Co;2-6.

Lehmann, A., Leifheit, E.F., Rillig, M.C. 2017. Mycorrhizas and Soil Aggregation. Mycorrhizal Mediation of Soil. Fertility, Structure, and Carbon Storage 14, 2041-262.

Li, X., Li, Z., Ding, Y., Liu, S., Zhao, Z., Luo, L., Pang, H., Li, C., Li, H., You, X., Wang, F. 2007. Seasonal variations of PH and electrical conductivity in a snow-firn pack on Glacier No, 1, eastern Tianshan, China. Cold Regions Science and Technology 48, 55-63.

LUCDEME. 1986. Proyecto LUCDEME. Mapa de suelos 1:100.000. Motril-1055. Ministerio de Agricultura, Pesca y Alimentación. ICONA. J. Aguilar (Ed.). Universidad de Granada. Facultad de Ciencia. Departamento de Edafología.

Luna, L., Miralles, I., Andrenelli, M.V., Gispert, M., Pellegrini, S., Vignozzi, N., Solé-Benet, A. 2016. Restoration techniques affect soil organic carbon, glomalin and aggregate stability in degraded soils of a semiarid Mediterranean region. Catena 143, 256-264.

Maestre, F.T., Cortina, J., Bautista, S., Bellot, J., Vallejo, V.R. 2003. Small-scale environmental heterogeneity and spatial-temporal dynamics of seedling establishment in a semiarid degraded ecosystem. Ecosystems 6, 630-643.

Madari, B., Machado, P., Torres, E., De Andagre, A.G., Valencia, L. 2005. No tillage and crop rotation effects on soil aggregation and organic carbon in a Rhodic Ferrasol from Surthern of Brazil. Soil and Tillage Research 82, 185-200.

Marañes, A., Sánchez Garrido, J.A., De Haro Lozaño, S., Sánchez Gómez, S.T., Lozano Cantarero, F.J. 1994. Análisis de suelo, metodología e interpretación. Servicio de Publicaciones de la Universidad de Almería, Almería.

Marcote, I., Hernández, T., García, C., Polo, A. 2001. Influence of one or two successive annual applications of organic fertilizers on the enzyme activity of a soil under barley cultivation. Biorecourse Technology 79,147-154.

Martin, S.L., Mooney, S.J., Dickinson, M.J., West, H.M. 2012. Soil structural responses to alterations in soil microbiota induced by the dilution method and mycorrhizal fungal inoculation. Pedobiologia 55, 271-281.

Martínez-Murillo, J.F., Hueso-González, P., Ruiz-Sinoga, J.D. 2017a. Impact of low pressure grazing in the hydrological and sediment connectivity in hillslopes under contrasted Mediterranean climatic conditions (South of Spain). Land Degradation & Development. Doi: 10.1002/ldr.2809.

Martínez-Murillo, J.F., Hueso-González, P., Ruiz-Sinoga, J.D. 2017b. Topsoil moisture mapping using geostatistical techniques under different Mediterranean climatic conditions. Science of The Total Environment 595, 400-412.

Martínez-Murillo, J.F., Hueso-González, P., Ruiz-Sinoga, J.D., Lavee, H. 2016. Short-Experimental fire effects in soil and water losses in southern of Spain. Land Degradation & Development 27, 1513-1522.

Mataix-Solera, J., Benito, E., Andreu, V., Cerdá, A., Llovet, K., Úbeda, X., Martí, C., Varela, E., Gimeno, E., Arcenegu, V., Rubio, J.L., Campo, J., García-Orenes, F., Badía, D. 2010. ¿Cómo estudiar la estabilidad de agregados en suelos afectados por incendios? Métodos de interpretación de resultados. En: A. Cerdá, A. Jordán (Eds), Actualización de métodos y técnicas para el estudio de los suelos afectados por incendios forestales. FUEGORED, Valencia, Cátedra de Divulgación de la Ciencia, pp. 113-131.

Méndez, A., Gomez, A., Paz-Ferreiro, J., Gascó, G. 2012. Effects of sewage sludge biochar on plant metal availability after application to a Mediterranean soil. Chemosphere 89, 1354-1359.

Morugán-Coronado, A., García-Orenes, F., Mataix-Solera, J., Arcenegui, V., Mataix-Beneyto, J. 2011. Short-term effects of treated wastewater irrigation on Mediterranean calcareous soil. Soil and Tillage Research 112, 18-26.

Muñoz-Rojas, M., Erickson, T.E., Dixon, K.W., Merritt, D. 2016. Soil quality indicators to assess functionality of restored soils in degraded semiarid ecosystems. Restoration Ecology 24, 43-52.

Nadal-Romero, E., Cammeraat, E., Pérez-Cardiel, E., Lasanta, T. 2016. Effect of secondary succession and afforestation practices on soil properties after cropland abandonment in humid Mediterranean mountain areas. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 228, 91-100.

Ojeda, G., Alcañiz, J.M., Ortiz, O. 2003. Runoff and losses by erosion in soils amended with sewage sludge, Land Degradation & Development 14 (6), 563-573.

Ojeda, G., Ortiz, O., Medina, C.R., Perera, J.M. 2015. Carbon sequestration in a limestone quarry mine soil amended with sewage sludge. Soil Use and Management 31, 270-278.

Pal, P.K., Mahajan, M. 2017. Tillage system and organic mulch influence leaf biomass, steviol glycoside yield and soil health under sub-temperate conditions. Industrial Crop and Products 104, 33-44.

Parida, A.K., Das, A.B. 2005. Salt tolerance and salinity effects on plants: a review. Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety 60, 324-349.

Parras-Alcántara, L., Díaz-Jaimes, L., Lozano-García, B. 2013. Organic farming affects C and N in soils under olive groves in Mediterranean areas. Land Degradation & Development 26 (8), 800-806.

Parniske, M. 2008. Arbuscular mycorrhiza: the mother of plant root endosymbiosis Nature Reviews Microbiology 6, 763-775.

Prats, S.A., dos Santos Martins, A., Cortizo Malvar, M., Ben-Hur, M., Keizer, J.J. 2014. Polyacrylamide application versus forest residue mulching for reducing post-fire runoff and soil erosion. Science of Total Environment 468-469, 464-474.

Prosdocimi, M., Jordán, A., Tarolli, P., Keesstra, S., Novara, A., Cerdà, A. 2016. The immediate effectiveness of barley straw mulch in reducing soil erodibility and surface runoff generation in Mediterranean vineyards. Science of the Total Environment 547, 323-330.

Rillig, M.C., Mummey, D.L. 2006. Mycorrhizas and soil structure. New Phytologist 171, 41-53.

Roldán, A., Albaladejo, J., Thormes, J.B. 2001. Aggregate stability changes in a semiarid soil after treatment with different organic amendments. Bioresource Technology 76, 125-129.

Ruiz-Sinoga, J.D., Martínez Murillo, J.F. 2009. Eco-geomorphological system response variability to the 2004-06 drought along a climatic gradient of the Littoral Betic Range (southern Spain). Geomorphology 103, 351-362.

Ruiz-Sinoga, J.D., Pariente, S., Romero Díaz, A., Martínez Murillo, J.F. 2012. Variability of relationships between soil organic carbon and some soil properties in Mediterranean rangelands under different climatic conditions (South of Spain). Catena 94, 17-25.

Schussler, A., Schwarzott, D., Walker, C. 2001. A new fungal phylum, the Glomeromycota: phylogeny and evolution. Mycological Research 105, 1413-1421.

Shazana, M.A.R.S., Shamshuddin, J., Fauziah, C.I., Syed-Omar, S.R. 2013. Alleviating the infertility of an acid sulphate soil by using ground basalt with or without lime and organic fertilizer under submerged conditions. Land Degradation & Development 24, 129-140.

Six, J., Bossuyt, H., Degryze, S., Denef, K. 2004. A history of research on the link between (micro) aggregates, soil biota, and soil organic matter dynamics. Soil and Tillage Research 79 (1), 7-31.

Smets, T., Poesen, J., Bochet, E. 2008. Impact of plot length on the effectiveness of different soil-surface covers in reducing runoff and soil loss by water. Progress in Physical Geography 32 (6), 654-677.

Srinivasarao, C.H., Venkateswarlu, B., Lal, R., Singh, A.K., Kundu, S., Vittal, K.P.R., Patel, J.J., Patel, M.M. 2013. Long-term manuring and fertilizer effects on depletion of soil organic carbon stocks under pearl millet-cluster bean-castor rotation in Western India. Land Degradation & Development 25, 173-183.

Tejada, M., González, J.L. 2013. Effects of the application of a compost originating from crushed cotton gin residues on wheat yield under dryland conditions, European Journal of Agronomy 19, 357-368.

Tesfahunegn, G.B. 2013. Soil quality indicators response to land use and soil management systems in Northern Ethiopia's Catchment. Land Degradation & Development 27 (2), 438-448.

Trasar, C., Leiros, M., Gil, F. 2003. Consideraciones generales sobre la determinación de las actividades enzimáticas del suelo. En: C. García, F. Gil, T. Hernández, C. Trasar (Eds.), Técnicas de análisis de parámetros bioquímicos en suelos. Mundiprensa, Madrid.

Wahbi, A., Avery, A., Dercon, G., Heng, L. 2017. Mitigating Soil Moisture Evaporation via Organic Mulch Application in Cultivated Agricultural Environments (INIS-XA--17M0675). International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA): IAEA.

Yazdanpanah N., Mahmoodabadi M., Cerdà A. 2016. The impact of organic amendments on soil hydrology, structure and microbial respiration in semiarid lands. Geoderma 266, 58-65.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

© Universidad de La Rioja, 2013

ISSN 0211-6820

EISSN 1697-9540