Assessing the impact of orchard utilisation on soil characteristics

White, David (2007) Assessing the impact of orchard utilisation on soil characteristics. BSc dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    Abstract

    This project investigates the results of studies into the physical and chemical properties of soils which have been utilised as orchards for varying lengths of time, but have the same base soil type. The study took place during September 2006 in the Vale of Evesham, Worcestershire. By investigating the properties of orchards of different ages it is possible to identify the period of time that needed to cause a significant change in the soil properties. The properties under investigation are; Organic Matter %, Heavy metal concentration, Particle size distribution, Bulk density and Moisture content. The key paper for this investigation is by Niedzwiecki (1991) which stated that "many years of orchard utilisation worsened soil physical properties ... [and caused] higher concentrations of zinc copper and lead". This work shall be furthered by investigating the time factor for such changes. A study by Fullen et al (2006) has showed that under bare soil conditions bulk density increases with time. Three ages of orchard are identified, 35 years, 15 years and 18 months old. These shall be investigated, along with with a non-orchard, wheat field site, for comparison. The results showed that the oldest areas of orchard had the lowest organic matter %, and also the highest concentration of heavy metals. These results can both be linked to the management practices applied to the orchards, the removal of top surface vegetation and the regular use of machinery for mowing the strips. The bulk density was also positively correlation to the orchard age. After 35 years of utilisation there were significant differences in the bulk density, organic matter, moisture and copper concentration of the soil. Over shorter periods of time the differences were less significant.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Science > Department of Geography
    Depositing User: Jane Polwin
    Date Deposited: 20 Jan 2011 12:47
    Last Modified: 28 Jan 2015 11:13
    URI: http://eprints.port.ac.uk/id/eprint/369

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