Ciencia del suelo
versión On-line ISSN 1850-2067
Austrocedrus chilensis forests suffer a widespread mortality locally known as «mal del ciprés» (cypress disease) whose cause remains controversial. Previous studies suggested Phytophthora austrocedrae as the biotic cause; however, the origin of the mortality is still being studied since there are affected areas not connected with Phytophthora. The soil was proved to be an important factor affecting the disease. The purpose of this article was to study soil chemical properties related to A. chilensis disease. Four sampling sites with A. chilensis dense forests developed on different types of soils were selected in the 16 de Octubre Valley (Chubut province, Argentine). In each of them, pairs of plots that differed in disease symptoms were established. Each pair included a plot with an advanced degree of disease (diseased plot) and another that did not exhibit symptoms (asymptomatic plot). Eight plots were included in the control forests, where the disease was totally absent. In each plot, a soil sample from the A horizon was collected for chemical analyses. This study showed high soil chemical fertility in all the forest soils, with high contents of organic matter, nitrogen, exchangeable cations and high cation exchange capacity. Differences between diseased forests and control forests were found for the following properties: sum of bases, base saturation, calcium, pH NaF and phosphorus. These differences could be associated with the drainage conditions and may also be associated to the presence of Phytophthora.
Palabras clave : Cypress; Chemical properties; Phytophthora austrocedrae.