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Stemflow and dissolved organic carbon cycling: temporal variability in concentration, flux, and UV-Vis spectral metrics in a temperate broadleaved deciduous forest in the eastern United States

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No known research has examined the concentration and flux of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) for stemflow across temporal scales from within single storm events to seasonal and annual scales or employed UV-Vis spectral metrics to examine the chemical character of dissolved organic matter (DOM) of stemflow drainage. Thus, our study examined stemflow DOC concentration and flux and DOM character from American beech (Fagus grandifolia Ehrh.) and yellow poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera L.) to address this data gap. Intrastorm stemflow DOC concentrations and fluxes diminished by an order of magnitude over time for American beech but remained relatively constant for yellow poplar. Stemflow DOM aromaticity, however, generally increased and E 2:E 3 ratios generally decreased as events progressed, suggesting transport of different compounds at different moments. Although less enriched in DOC than yellow poplar, American beech stemflow DOC fluxes were double per annum. Differential interspecific stemflow DOM characteristics are ascribed to (i) significant differences in SUVA254 values (aromaticity) for the leafless season and annually and (ii) significantly higher E 2:E 3 and S R ratios for yellow poplar stemflow than for American beech annually and across leafed and leafless seasons. Our results suggest that stemflow significantly affects the amount and chemical character of carbon flux to the forest floor that may engender hot spots around tree boles.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Geography, University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19716, USA. 2: Department of Bioresources Engineering, University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19716, USA. 3: Independent Scholar, Newark, DE 19713, USA. 4: College of Environmental Science and Forestry, State University of New York, Syracuse, NY 13210, USA. 5: Center for Environmental Studies, Brown University, Providence, RI 02912, USA.

Publication date: January 30, 2012

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  • Published since 1971, this monthly journal features articles, reviews, notes and commentaries on all aspects of forest science, including biometrics and mensuration, conservation, disturbance, ecology, economics, entomology, fire, genetics, management, operations, pathology, physiology, policy, remote sensing, social science, soil, silviculture, wildlife and wood science, contributed by internationally respected scientists. It also publishes special issues dedicated to a topic of current interest.
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