Quantification of Biodiversity Related to the Active Protection of Grassland Habitats in the Eastern Lublin Region of Poland Based on the Activity of Soil Enzymes
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This study focused on the impact of extensive sheep grazing on soil enzymatic activity in the grassland habitats of the Eastern Lublin region of Poland, situated within the ecological Natura 2000 network of: Kąty (PLH060010), Stawska Góra (PLH060018), and Zachodniowołyńska Dolina Bugu (PLH060035). This study involved soils under sheep grazing and soils in uncultivated areas (wasteland). Two-year study was conducted in 2 periods of each year: spring (before the start of sheep grazing) and autumn (after grazing). Beneficial effects were found for extensive grazing by sheep on soil enzymatic activity within each tested habitat. It is worth underlining that a clear stimulation of enzyme activity was detected already in the first year of observation. In the second year, the enzyme activity in the soils of habitats under sheep grazing was approximately 1.5 times higher than in the soils without grazing. The observed higher activity of the tested enzymes in soils under sheep grazing indicated the usefulness of studies on the enzymatic activity of soils as a sensitive indicator of soil response, such as observed here with the applied active system of biodiversity protection in the valuable natural grassland habitats of Natura 2000.
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