Influence of a parking area on soils and vegetation in an urban nature reserve
We studied the influence of a car park on soil and vegetation within Richmond Park, UK, before and after imposition of fenced boundaries restricted public access. Soil and vegetation samples were taken before (once) and after (twice) access restrictions were enforced. The over-riding trend in all the data was for soil adjacent to the car park to be less acidic and more fertile than pristine local soils, accompanied by a more eutrophic grassland community ( Lolium perenne/Trifolium repens , compared with Agrostis/Festuca grassland away from the car park). The chemical influence of the car park extended at least 50 m from its boundary. A common acidophilic collembole Folsomia quadrioculata was replaced by Cryptopygus thermophilus adjacent to the car park. There was little evidence from the vegetation data that car park closure benefitted the ecosystem, but chemical data showed signs of progressive recovery in the 2 years following restrictions. Possible explanations for the car park's influence on the local landscape are suggested to include calcareous chippings and canine faecal deposits.