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- PublicationAccès libreEarthworm communities in alluvial forests: Influence of altitude, vegetation stages and soil parametersIn many terrestrial ecosystems, soil parameters usually regulate the distribution of earthworm communities. In alluvial ecosystems, few studies have investigated the impact of periodic floods and alluvium deposition on soil fauna. In this context, we assumed that earthworm communities may vary depending on altitude (alpine, subalpine, mountain and hill levels), forest successional stage (post-pioneer to mature forests) and some soil parameters. Our results demonstrated that the composition of earthworm communities differed depending on altitudinal gradients. No earthworm was found at the alpine level while maximum density and biomass were observed at the hill level mainly due to the contribution of anecic species. A total of 27 species and subspecies were found over the three sampling sites, and Lumbricus moliboeus was discovered for the first time in carbonated soils. Soil texture had a major effect on epigeics that were often associated with coarse sandy texture in contrast to anecics which preferred deep soils and mature forest stages, which in combination provided the highest carbon content and the finest soil texture. In our study, carbonated fluviosols (Fluvisols according to the World Reference Base) were recorded; fluviosols typiques with well-structured A layers were generally found in mature or intermediate forest stages while most of fluviosols juveniles with heterogeneous texture were observed principally in post-pioneer forests. We conclude that in alluvial ecosystems, earthworm communities were highly dependent first on soil parameters, then altitude and to a lesser extent forest successional stages. Changes in earthworm communities tend to reflect a gradient of alluvial dynamics thus reinforcing the potential role of earthworms as bioindicators in natural and/or semi natural alluvial ecosystems.
- PublicationAccès libreCarbon storage and soil organic matter stabilisation in near-natural, restored and embanked Swiss floodplainsOver recent decades, the number of floodplain restoration projects has increasedworldwide. In Switzerland, several projects have been implemented tomaintain or recreate ecological functions of floodplains. Despite this, little is known about the potential of floodplain soils to release and/or accumulate carbon. In alluvial soils, carbon storage is strongly influenced by fluvial dynamics, and therefore a better understanding of carbon fluxes and stocks in such settings is clearly needed.To evaluate the impact of river restoration on carbon storage in alluvial soils, we aimed to quantify and explain carbon storage and soil organic matter (SOM) stabilisation in the uppermost soil humic layer. Three floodplains were investigated showing each of themdifferent levels of human disturbance: a near-natural section along the Rhine River, and both restored and embanked sections along the Thur River and Emme River. Carbon storagewas determined by total organic carbon (TOC) stocks. SOM stabilisation was evaluated by considering the TOC content in different granulometric fractions (1000–2000 μm, 500–1000 μm, and 250–500 μm) and the macroaggregate formation, i.e. the abundance of water-stable aggregates (WSA) and the mean weight diameter of macro-aggregates (MWD). Our results showthat the carbon storage and SOMstabilisation parameterswere all related to soil properties such as clay, silt and total iron contents of the upper humic layer. Within each floodplain, carbon storage and SOM stabilisation parameters differed according to soil profile groups, thus reflecting a soil gradient evolution from bare alluvium soils tomore stabilised soils and a hydric functioning (soils with hydromorphic features). In addition, river restoration showed various impacts on carbon storage and SOMstabilisation parameters depending on the floodplains, with a significant difference between embanked and restored sections for the Emme floodplain and no difference for the Thur floodplain.
- PublicationAccès libreIdentification of facies models in alluvial soil formation: The case of a Swiss alpine floodplainThis paper describes different conceptual facies models intervening in alluvial soil formation in the case of the Sarine River floodplain, a partially embanked floodplain situated in the northwest of the Swiss Alps. Alluvial soils are submitted to processes of deposition and erosion and exhibit various characteristics reflecting the composition and properties of the material transported. Moreover, these processes of sedimentation and erosion vary in space and time and contribute thus to the heterogeneity of the whole floodplain system. Detailed analyses of the different soil layers permit a precise description of the variability and complexity of soil formation. In addition, the vertical succession of the horizons is useful to reconstruct the different natural or artificial events that occurred in this alluvial valley since the nineteenth century. On a larger scale, this study aims to contribute to floodplain management by identifying zones for restoration. The investigation was undertaken using data from 109 auger borings carried out in the Sarine River valley. Several morphological attributes of the different horizons and of the different profiles were first reduced in number and then grouped by a hierarchical agglomerative clustering. Profile factors were analysed by means of correlation analyses as well as other data summaries. The results showed positive correlations between several factors, particularly between the total profile thickness and the number of horizons found in the profile. Four facies models of alluvial soil formation are then proposed to illustrate and explain the variability of alluvial soil formation in the Sarine floodplain. Finally, these facies models are placed into the context of the Sarine floodplain scale case, according to the levels of organization of the alluvial system.
- PublicationAccès libreEarthworm communities as indicators for evaluating floodplain restoration success