Influence of pasture management (nitrogen and lime addition and insecticide treatment) on soil organisms and pasture root system dynamics in the field.
At an upland field site in Scotland on an established Festuca-Agrostis pasture, the effects of soil amendment on root dynamics, using nitrogen and lime and the regular application of insecticide, were studied over a period of 1 year. The most common insect root herbivore at the site was Tipula paludosa, and the application of insecticide (chlorpyrifos) reduced numbers of all insect larvae of all species. Root biomass, root appearance, root disappearance and root density were all reduced by insecticide. This reduced rooting could reflect reduced root replacement, due to the reduction in root herbivory in insecticide-treated plots or could be a direct affect of insecticide application on the roots. Root appearance, root disappearance and C and N input to the soil were increased by treatment with nitrogen and lime, while root survival time was reduced. The nitrogen and lime treatment also increased bacterial numbers in the soil and enhanced their potential C utilization. An altered rooting density and longevity was brought about by the two soil treatments, which could have both direct and indirect effects on the soil biota.