Harmonisation of physical and chemical methods for soil management in Cork Oak forests - Lessons from collaborative investigations
As part of a collaborative project to investigate human impacts on Quercus suber L. (cork oak) forests, five research groups from countries in Europe and North Africa undertook a survey of soil quality (physical properties, potentially toxic elements) at sites in NW Tunisia and NW Sardinia. All groups performed the analysis of soil samples after agreeing prescribed methodologies to ensure harmonisation and the production of a robust and reliable data set. The data produced were compared using basic statistical methods and revealed strong positive correlation despite minor operational variation. The data indicates that inter and intra laboratory variability differed from parameter to parameter and that good agreement was obtained where methodology was common. Collaborative research introduced the need for common communication plans and exchange of information not normally supplied in analytical reporting.
Key words: Forest soil quality, inter-comparison, Quercus suber L., cork oak, Tunisia, Sardinia, chemical analysis, potentially toxic elements.