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Organic Matter and Nutrients Associated with Fine Root Turnover in a White Oak Stand

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Organic matter and nutrients cycled by fine root turnover were quantified in a mature white oak (Quercus alba L.) stand and compared to contributions from litterfall. The budget method, a revised version of the traditional repeated sampling method, was used to measure root turnover. The magnitude of the live and dead pools of three size classes of fine (<5 mm diameter) roots were monitored bimonthly for 14 months. Decomposition rates over these intervals were also measured, while production and mortality were calculated. Litterfall was collected simultaneously, and the nutrient concentrations of the various detritus components determined. Root pools fluctuated less, and total root turnover biomass (220 g m -2 yr-1) was also less than previously noted in most other stands studied. Fine root turnover accounted for 30% of the total detritus production and 20-40% of the turnover of the five macronutrients (N, P. K, Ca, Mg) studied. Differences with previous studies suggest that there may be rather large species and/or site-related differences in the amount of energy various stands allocate for fine root maintenance. For. Sci. 33(2):330-346.

Keywords: Quercus alba; budget method; root decomposition; root mortality; root production

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Professor, School of Forestry, Fisheries and Wildlife, 1-31 Agriculture Building, University of Missouri, Columbia

Publication date: June 1, 1987

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