Survila, G., Varnagirytė-Kabašinskienė, I. and Armolaitis, K. 2021. Deep soil ploughing for afforestation: a review of potential impacts on soil and vegetation. Baltic Forestry 27(2): 296–306 (Review paper).

   Deep ploughing – which inverts, covers, or mixes soil organic layer (forest floor) and surface mineral A horizon into the mineral subsoil, burying the upper soil horizon in deeper layers, and disrupting pedogenic processes – is a debatable topic in forest plantation management. Overall, this review article aimed to identify the impacts of deep ploughing on the properties of forest plantations, adapting experiences from the agricultural sector. This paper examines the main impacts of deep ploughing technology on soil physical, chemical, and biological properties, ground vegetation, and tree aboveground and belowground biomass in afforested former agricultural land. Analysis of the published literature shows that deep ploughing can be used under different climatic and soil conditions, but it induces site-specific changes in soil properties and vegetation. Mechanical site preparation during afforestation and reforestation should follow the requirements of sustainable soil management, to avoid negative effects on the environment and biodiversity. Based on this analysis, we suggest key indicators that may be specific to deep ploughing responses in afforested sites and can contribute to risk assessment, aimed at achieving sustainable forest management. To date, most studies on mechanical site preparation for forest plantation have been performed using a few conifer tree species; therefore, it is important to expand empirical studies.\

Keywords: deep tillage, soil horizon mixing, soil properties, vegetation response