Wood Ash Effects on Soil Fauna and Interactions with Carbohydrate Supply: A Minireview

  • Jouni K. NieminenEmail author


Wood ash effects on soil animals in a boreal forest ecosystem are reviewed focusing on recent results on interactive effects of wood ash and organic amendments, and laboratory microcosms as a tool to understand soil food webs are discussed. Loose wood ash can reduce the populations of enchytraeids, collembolans and mites, but increase nematode populations particularly in experimental laboratory ecosystems with little or no primary production. Recent studies indicate that the repressive effect on enchytraeids depends on carbon availability. Carbohydrate supply seemed to alleviate the negative wood ash effect on enchytraeid body size and abundance. The fact that carbon alleviated wood ash effects on enchytraeids without any change in pH supports the view that wood ash effects on soil animals are partly indirect consequences of altered food resources. Experimental evidence suggests that the negative wood ash effect on enchytraeids is partly linked to increased bacteria-to-fungi ratio after wood ash application, and that this may be counteracted by carbohydrate addition.


Nematode Population Soil Animal Labile Carbon Carbon Availability Laboratory Microcosm 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The study was financially supported by the Runar Bäckström Foundation and the Maj and Tor Nessling Foundation. I appreciate the cooperation of the Jyväskylä Soil Ecology Group, help with Table 4.1 from J. Haimi, V. Huhta, M. Liiri and H. Setälä, and constructive comments on the manuscript by two anonymous reviewers.


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biological and Environmental ScienceUniversity of JyväskyläJyväskyläFinland

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