, Volume 8, Issue 2, pp 191-199
Date: 22 Feb 2005

Fine Root Production and Turnover in a Norway Spruce Stand in Northern Sweden: Effects of Nitrogen and Water Manipulation

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Fine root length production, biomass production, and turnover in forest floor and mineral soil (0–30 cm) layers were studied in relation to irrigated (I) and irrigated-fertilized (IL) treatments in a Norway spruce stand in northern Sweden over a 2-year period. Fine roots (<1 mm) of both spruce and understory vegetation were studied. Minirhizotrons were used to estimate fine root length production and turnover, and soil cores were used to estimate standing biomass. Turnover was estimated as both the inverse of root longevity (RTL) and the ratio of annual root length production to observed root length (RTR). RTR values of spruce roots in the forest floor in I and IL plots were 0.6 and 0.5 y−1, respectively, whereas the corresponding values for RTL were 0.8 and 0.9 y−1. In mineral soil, corresponding values for I, IL, and control (C) plots were 1.2, 1.2, and 0.9 y−1 (RTR) and 0.9, 1.1, and 1 y−1 (RTL). RTR and RTL values of understory vegetation roots were 1 and 1.1 y−1, respectively. Spruce root length production in both the forest floor and the mineral soil in I plots was higher than in IL plots. The IL-treated plots gave the highest estimates of spruce fine root biomass production in the forest floor, but, for the mineral soil, the estimates obtained for the I plots were the highest. The understory vegetation fine root production in the I and IL plots was similar for both the forest floor and the mineral soil and higher (for both layers) than in C plots. Nitrogen (N) turnover in the forest floor and mineral soil layers (summed) via spruce roots in IL, I, and C plots amounted to 2.4, 2.1, and 1.3 g N m−2 y−1, and the corresponding values for field vegetation roots were 0.6, 0.5, and 0.3 g N m−2 y−1. It was concluded that fertilization increases standing root biomass, root production, and N turnover of spruce roots in both the forest floor and mineral soil. Data on understory vegetation roots are required for estimating carbon budgets in model studies.