Carbon and nitrogen dynamics in topsoils along forest conversion sequences in the Ore Mountains and the Saxonian lowland, Germany
Source: European Journal of Forest Research, Volume 123, Number 3, November 2004 , pp. 189-201(13)
Abstract:Carbon and nitrogen stocks and their medium-term and readily decomposable fractions in topsoils were compared in relation to soil microbial biomass and activity along sequences from coniferous to deciduous stands. The study was carried out in the Ore Mountains and the Saxonian lowland, representing two typical natural regions in Saxony, Germany. In accordance with current forest conversion practices, the investigation sites represent different stands: mature conifer stands of Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karst.) and Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) (type A); Norway Scots spruce and pine with advanced plantings of European beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) or European beech/Common oak (Quercus petreae Liebl.) (type B); and mature deciduous stands of European beech and European beech/Common oak (type C). The investigated forest sites can be grouped into three silvicultural situations according to the development from coniferous stands to advanced plantings and finally mature deciduous forests (chronosequence A–B–C). The organic layer (L, F and H horizons) and uppermost mineral soil (0–10 cm) were analysed for potential C mineralisation, microbial biomass, concentrations of total C and N (TOC and TN) and for medium-term and readily decomposable C and N fractions, obtained by hot- and cold-water extraction respectively. The results showed an increase in organic layer thickness and mass as well as TOC and TN stocks along the forest sequences in the lowland. Yet, underplanted sites with two storeys revealed higher organic layer mass as well as TOC and TN stocks as compared to coniferous and deciduous stands. Stocks of hot- and cold-water-extractable C and N in relation to microbial biomass and its activity revealed a high turnover activity in deeper organic horizons of deciduous forests compared to coniferous stands. The stand-specific differentiation is discussed in relation to microbial biomass, litter quantity and quality and forest structure, but also with respect to the site-specific climatic factors and water budget as well as liming and fly-ash impacts. Results indicate higher dynamics in deciduous stands in the lowland especially during the initial turnover phase. The elevated microbial activity in deeper organic horizons of deciduous litter-influenced sites in spring is discussed as a specific indicator for long-term C sequestration potential as besides C mineralisation organic compounds are humified and thus, can be stored in the organic layer or in deeper soil horizons. Due to liming activities, stand-specific effects on organic matter turnover dynamics have evened out today in the Ore mountain region, but will presumably occur again once base saturation decreases. Here, the stand-specific effect on microbial biomass can currently be seen again as Cmic in the L horizon increased from spruce to beech. Our study sites in the lowland revealed no significant fly-ash impact. Differences between sites were evaluated by calculating the discriminance function. TOC and TN as well as medium-term degradable C and N were defined in this study as indicators for turnover dynamics along forest conversion sites.
Document Type: Research article
Affiliations: 1: Institute of Soil Science and Site Ecology, Faculty of Forest, Geo and Hydro Sciences, Dresden University of Technology, P.O. 1117, 01737 , Tharandt, Germany, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org 2: Institute of Soil Science and Site Ecology, Faculty of Forest, Geo and Hydro Sciences, Dresden University of Technology, P.O. 1117, 01737 , Tharandt, Germany,
Publication date: 2004-11-01