The nutrient-budget of horse tracks on an English lowland heath.
The soils and vegetation of horse tracks which passed through Pteridium aquilinum or Calluna vulgaris dominated sites, with underlying podsols, were studied. Vegetation was absent from the tracks and reduced at the edges in comparison with control areas 10 m from the track. Pteridium aquilinum and Calluna vulgaris were replaced by Molinia caerulea as the dominant plant at the edges of tracks. The soil from the track and track edge at the Pteridium site contained significantly more nitrogen than did soil from the control areas. The track soil contained more phosphorus than the control area at the Calluna site. Festuca rubra, Poa pratensis and Urtica dioica grown on the heath soils in a greenhouse produced more seedlings and a greater biomass in soils from the tracks than in soils from the control areas.