, Volume 12, Issue 2, pp 120-125
Date: 02 Apr 2007

Root biomass and distribution of a Picea–Abies stand and a Larix–Betula stand in pumiceous Entisols in Japan

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Abstract

Root biomass and root distribution were studied in Entisols derived from the thick deposition of volcanic pumice on Hokkaido Island, Japan, to examine the effect of soil conditions on tree root development. The soil had a thin (<10 cm) A horizon and thick coarse pumiceous gravel layers with low levels of available nutrients and water. Two stands were studied: a Picea glehniiAbies sachalinensis stand (PA stand) and a Larix kaempferiBetula platyphylla var. japonica stand (LB stand). The allometric relationships between diameter at breast height (DBH) and aboveground and belowground biomass of these species were obtained to estimate stand biomass. The belowground biomass was small: 30.6 Mg ha−1 for the PA stand and 24.3 Mg ha−1 for the LB stand. The trunk/root ratios of study stands were 4.8 for the PA stand and 4.3 for the LB stand, which were higher than those from previous studies in boreal and temperate forests. All species developed shallow root systems, and fine roots were spread densely in the shallow A horizon, suggesting that physical obstruction by the pumiceous layers and their low levels of available water and nutrients restricted downward root elongation. The high trunk/root ratios of the trees may also have resulted from the limited available rooting space in the study sites.