Human-caused trampling that results from excessive recreational use has caused damage to soil and vegetation in forest ecosystems in the Belgrad Forest of Istanbul. The objectives of this study were to examine effects of exclosure on selected soil properties and to determine the recovery time required for soil characteristics in a broadleaf forest recreation site.
Litter biomass and topsoil (0–15 cm) were sampled in the forest, exclosure and recreational sites, and soil samples were analysed for saturation capacity, permeability, bulk density, total porosity, organic matter, root biomass, electrical conductivity and soil pH.
Results showed that saturation capacity, permeability, total porosity and organic matter increased whereas bulk density decreased significantly in the topsoil under the exclosure, and all these soil properties in the topsoil of the exclosure were greater than those of recreational site. When effects of main factors were compared, averaging over sampling year and soil sampling depth, soils from the exclosure had significantly greater saturation capacity, permeability, total porosity, organic matter and litter biomass and lower bulk density values than the soils from recreational site.
Six years of exclosure was effective in improving most of the soil properties in the topsoil. When topsoil and subsoil are considered together, it is obvious that a longer time period is needed for soil recovery in the forest recreational sites. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.