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17/3/2006

Mineral

Minerals in the soil strongly influence soil fertility. The importance of minerals are linked to how easily they are weathered and their content of macro and micro nutrients used by plants. Quartz mainly consists of silicon dioxide (SiO2) and is very nutrient poor. Plagioclase is an important source of calcium (Ca). Apatite is the most important source of phosphorous (P) in forests.


Kvarts Feldspar Plagioclase Mafic minerals
Apatite

Mineral content of mineral soils have been assessed by means of an indirect method. This implies that, guided by results from analyses of total geochemical composition, it is possible to calculate, "backwards", to which extent different minerals occur. Some elements are part of very few minerals. Guided by the composition of elements in soils, the different elements can systematically be allocated or assigned to different minerals. When the content of the first mineral has been excluded one goes to the next and so on, until the total number of nutrients in the ground have been distributed on the different minerals. More information about the method is found in Geochemical Atlas of Swedish Forest Soils. (Melkerud, P-A, Olsson, M & RosÚn, K. Reports in Forest Ecology and Forest Soils Number 65. 1992. SLU. Uppsala)

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