Comparison of three soil health indicators between different vegetative strip compositions
Contemporary evidence shows biotic factors play a prominent role in the soil health and the provision of soil functions. Herbaceous grassland species differ in their modulation of soil communities, effects on soil components, as well the processes they interact with or regulate. In this study, we aimed to investigate the impact of different plant species communities on soil health, as quantified by soil physical (water infiltration), chemical (soil organic matter) and biological (Collembola community data) indicators. Data was collected from an existing long-term field trial in the UK, planted to either forb-dominated composition, grass species dominated composition or a multipurpose mixture of forb and grass species. Results showed that plant community can determine soil water infiltration rates, particularly with observed increased soil organic matter (SOM) and epigeic Collembola abundances. The results presented here add evidence that plant communities planted as vegetative buffer strips can be specifically tailored to support soil health development and maintenance.