Seed Bank Community under Different-Intensity Agrophytocenoses on Hilly Terrain in Lithuania

Plants (Basel). 2023 Mar 1;12(5):1084. doi: 10.3390/plants12051084.


On the summit of a hill with a lack of humidity, and in usually stronger eroded midslope parts, crops thin out. Changing ecological conditions change the soil seed bank as well. The aim of this study was to examine changes in the seed bank size and number of species and the influence of seed surface characteristics on their spread in different-intensity agrophytocenoses under hilly relief conditions. This study included different parts of the hill (summit, midslope and footslope) in Lithuania. The southern exposition slope's soil was slightly eroded Eutric Retisol (loamic). In spring and autumn, the seed bank was investigated at depths of 0-5 and 5-15 cm. Irrespective of the season, in the soil of permanent grassland, the seed number was 6.8 and 3.4 times smaller compared to those of cereal-grass crop rotation and crop rotation with black fallow. The highest number of seed species was determined in the footslope of the hill. Seeds with rough surfaces dominated on all parts of the hill, but the highest amount (on the average 69.6%) was determined on the summit of the hill. In autumn, a strong correlation was found between the total seed number and soil microbial carbon biomass (r = 0.841-0.922).

Keywords: agrophytocenoses; hilly relief; microbial biomass carbon; seed bank size; seed surface; species number.

Grant support

This research received no external funding.