The type of vegetation cover determines the physicochemical and biological properties of the soil over which they are developing. The objective of this study was to determine the effect of different vegetation covers on the forms of soil phosphorus, in order to know which of these forms can be used as a soil quality indicator. The experimental area was located on the acidic plateau at the North of Palencia (North Spain), where an area was selected vegetation covers very close to each other: pine (Pinus sylvestris), oak (Quercus pyrenaica), and three different shrub species (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi, Erica australis and Halimium alyssoides). The Ah horizon was sampled and pH, total organic C (C(org)), total N (N), cationic exchange capacity (CEC), sum of bases (S) and P forms by a sequential fractionation were analysed. Results showed that oak and A. uva-ursi improve the considered soil parameters (pH, C(org)/N ratio, CEC, and S) and provide soils of better quality. Inorganic soil P forms were influenced in greater extent by the vegetation cover than were P organic forms. Labile inorganic P forms could be used as indicators of soil quality. The organic P forms were less sensitive than inorganic ones to the indicated improvements.
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