Évolution de l'acidité et de la disponibilité en azote des sols forestiers français au cours du 20ème siècle : Une approche spatio-temporelle et multi-échelle basée sur le caractère bio-indicateur de la flore

Abstract : Human activities have, over the last century, strongly influenced the cycles controlling the levels of acidity and nitrogen availability in nature. Acidifying and eutrophying deposition lead to a change in environmental conditions and particularly to sensitive changes in plant communities' composition.The objective of this Ph.D work is to reconstruct the spatiotemporal evolution of the acidity and nitrogen availability in French forest soils over the 20th century using the bioindicator character of plants, into local and global scales. The use of plants as bioindicator seeks to mitigate the lack of direct measurements of soil conditions and atmospheric deposition, over a wide spatiotemporal extent. First, changes in bioindicated soil pH (indicator of acidity conditions) and C:N (indicator of nitrogen availability status) were computed from approximately 100 000 temporary floristic plots carried out throughout France from 1910 to 2010. They were analyzed using an innovative method of spatiotemporal comparison, where acidic and nonacidic forest areas and coniferous and broadleaved forests were differentiated. Secondly, and always from the bioindicator character of plants, changes in soil conditions between 1972 and 2011 across Villey forest as well as floristic changes they induce related with other environmental changes were analyzed.At the global level, we observed acidification in acidic forest areas (-0.34 pH units on average) and in nonacidic areas (-0.19 pH units on average), respectively, until 1984 and 1997. We demonstrated for the first time (to our knowledge) a cessation of acidification of forest soils and even a decrease in acidity in nonacidic forest areas, as wella as a time lag for acidification between acidic and nonacidic areas. This trend is consistent with the trend of acidifying deposition in France since the early 20th century. Spatially, our results confirm the temporal trends, show a regional geographic pattern of acidification (mainly observed in nonacidic areas), and highlight the high spatial variability of soil pH changes. Concerning the evolution of nitrogen availability conditions, we observed an unexpected decrease in available nitrogen until 1984 and 1997, respectively, in coniferous (+0.79 C:N units on average) and broadleaved forests (+0.74 C:N units on average). A trend to eutrophisation of forest soils was then observed in coniferous and broadleaved forests since 1997 (-0.10 and -0.16 C:N units on average, respectively). This trend is not consistent with the trend of nitrogen atmospheric deposition in France. ”Last and final summary in the thesis.”
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Gabriela Riofrío-Dillon. Évolution de l'acidité et de la disponibilité en azote des sols forestiers français au cours du 20ème siècle : Une approche spatio-temporelle et multi-échelle basée sur le caractère bio-indicateur de la flore. Sylviculture, foresterie. AgroParisTech, 2013. Français. ⟨NNT : 2013AGPT0042⟩. ⟨tel-01115211⟩

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