, Volume 374, Issue 1-2, pp 19-32
Date: 04 Jul 2013

Fine root and litterfall dynamics of three Korean pine (Pinus koraiensis) forests along an altitudinal gradient

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Background and aims

Fine root and aboveground litterfall, two large fluxes of nutrients and carbon in the forest ecosystems, are key processes to be considered in efforts of measuring, modeling and predicting soil carbon sequestration.


We used sequential coring and litter trap to measure seasonal dynamics of fine root and litterfall in three Korean pine dominated forests along an altitudinal gradient in the Changbai Mountain during the 2012 growing season.


Fine root biomass decreased significantly while necromass increased remarkably with altitude. Patterns and amounts of fine root production and mortality varied among forest types. Litterfall decreased significantly with altitude, whereas forest floor mass increased. Carbon inputs through fine root mortality and litterfall decreased significantly with altitude while carbon storage of fine root mass did not differ among forest types and carbon storage of forest floor mass was significantly larger in higher altitudinal forests due to lower turnover rates.


This study provided an insight into the variations of fine root and litterfall dynamics among three Korean pine forests which were associated with different vegetation traits and environmental conditions, and also the quantification of carbon fluxes through fine root mortality and litterfall for estimating carbon budget of temperate forest.

Responsible Editor: Katja Klumpp.