Advertisement

Biology and Fertility of Soils

, Volume 11, Issue 3, pp 163–169 | Cite as

Organic matter and nutrient dynamics of the litter layer on a forest Rendzina under beech

  • R. G. Joergensen
Article

Summary

The decomposition of beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) leaf litter was investigated in a calcareous beech forest using mesh cages containing two layers, fresh leaf litter (O layer), and partly decomposed leaf litter (F layer). C loss was monitored, together with the changes in the contents of total N, hexosamines, ash, Na, K, Mg, Ca, Fe, Mn, Al, Cl, Sulphate, and Phosphate.

In 1-mm mesh cages, which excluded access to the macrofauna, the mean annual loss rates for C were 28% in the O leaf litter and 17% in the F leaf litter, totalling approximately 23% for the two layers. The mean loss rates from the 12-mm mesh cages were 54% in the O leaf litter and 58% in the F leaf litter. Degradation processes and feeding activities caused increased contents of ash, total N, and hexosamines in the O layer of both treatments. This increase was greater for the ash and smaller for N, glucosamine, and galactosamine in the 12-mm mesh cages. The sum of ions (Na+K+Mg+Ca+Fe+Mn+Al+Cl+SO4+PO4) and also the contents of most single ions were not markedly affected, despite the much higher ash content in the O leaf litter of the 12-mm mesh cages. The ash content increased mainly as a consequence of contamination by soil, which increased the contents of Fe and Al in the ash.

Key words

Litter decomposition Litter bag experiment Macrofaunal effects Organic matter turnover Nutrient dynamics Hexosamines 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Anderson JM (1973) The breakdown and decomposition of Sweet Chestnut (Castanea sativa Mill.) and beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) leaf litter in two deciduous woodland soils: I. Breakdown, leaching and decomposition. Oecologia 12:251–274Google Scholar
  2. Anderson JM, Ineson P, Huish SA (1983) Nitrogen and cation mobilization by soil fauna feeding on leaf litter and soil organic matter from deciduous woodlands. Soil Biol Biochem 15:463–467Google Scholar
  3. Anderson JM, Leonard MA, Ineson P, Huish SH (1985) Faunal biomass: A key component of a general model of nitrogen mineralization. Soil Biol Biochem 17:735–737Google Scholar
  4. Domsch KH, Anderson JPE (1986) Biomasse und Abbauleistung der Pilzen und Bakterien im Boden. Elemente. In: Ellenberg H, Mayer R, Schauermann J (eds) Ökosystemforschung. Ergebnisse des Solling-projekts. Ulmer, Stuttgart, pp 284–287Google Scholar
  5. Frankland JC, Lindley DK, Swift MJ (1978) A comparison of two methods for estimation of mycelial biomass in leaf litter. Soil Biol Biochem 10:323–333Google Scholar
  6. Gosz JR, Likens GE, Bormann FH (1973) Nutrient release from decomposing leaf and branch litter in the Hubbard Brook Forest, New Hampshire. Ecol Monogr 43:173–191Google Scholar
  7. Hanlon RDG, Anderson JM (1980) Influence of macroarthropod feeding activities on microflora in decomposing oak leaves. Soil Biol Biochem 12:255–261Google Scholar
  8. Hicks RE, Newell SY (1984) A comparison of glucosamine and biovolume conversion factors for estimating fungal biomass. Oikos 42:355–360Google Scholar
  9. Ineson P, Leonard MA, Anderson JM (1982) Effect of collembolan grazing upon nitrogen and cation leaching from decomposing leaf litter. Soil Biol Biochem 14:601–605Google Scholar
  10. Kjoeller A, Struwe S (1982) Microfungi in ecosystems: Fungal occurence and activity in litter and soil. Oikos 39:389–422Google Scholar
  11. Jenkinson DS, Ladd JN (1981) Microbial biomass in soil: Measurement and turnover. Soil Biochem 5:415–471Google Scholar
  12. Jenny H, Gessel SP, Bingham FT (1949) Comparative study of decomposition rates of organic matter in temperate and tropical regions. Soil Sci 68:419–432Google Scholar
  13. Joergensen RG (1987) Flüsse, Umsatz und Haushalt der postmortalen organischen Substanz und ihrer Stoffgruppen in Streudecke und Bodenkörper eines Buchenwald-Ökosystems auf Kalkgestein. Göttinger Bodenkd Berichte 91:1–409Google Scholar
  14. Joergensen RG, Meyer B (1990a) Chemical change in organic matter decomposing in and on a forest Rendzina under beech (Fagus sylvatica L.). J Soil Sci 41:17–27Google Scholar
  15. Joergensen RG, Meyer B (1990b) Nutrient changes in decomposing beech leaf litter assessed using a solution flux approach. J Soil Sci 41:279–293Google Scholar
  16. Jungk A (1968) Die Alkalität der Pflanzenasche als Maß für den Kationenüberschuß in der Pflanze. Z Pflanzenernähr Bodenkd 120:99–105Google Scholar
  17. Parkinson D, Domsch KH, Anderson JPE (1978) Die Entwicklung mikrobieller Biomassen im organischen Horizont eines Fichtenstandortes. Oecol Plant 13:355–366Google Scholar
  18. Parsons JW (1981) Chemistry and distribution of amino sugars in soils and soil organisms. Soil Biochem 5:197–227Google Scholar
  19. SAS Institute Inc (1982) SAS user's guide: Basics. SAS Inst, Cary NCGoogle Scholar
  20. Schaefer M (1990) The soil fauna of a beech forest on linestone: Trophic structure and energy budget. Oecologia 82:128–136Google Scholar
  21. Scheu S (1987) The influence of earthworms (Lumbricidae) on the nitrogen dynamics in the soil litter system of a deciduous forest. Oecologia 72:197–201Google Scholar
  22. Scheu S, Wolters V (1991) The influence of fragmentation and bioturbation on the decomposition of C-14-labelled beech leaf litter. Soil Biol Biochem 22 (in press)Google Scholar
  23. Seastedt TR (1984) The role of microarthropods in decomposition and mineralization processes. Annu Rev Entomol 29:25–46Google Scholar
  24. Söderström BE (1977) Vital staining of fungi in pure culture and in soil with fluorescein diacetate. Soil Biol Biochem 9:59–64Google Scholar
  25. Staaf H (1980) Release of plant nutrients from decomposing leaf litter in a South Swedish beech forest. Holarct Ecol 3:129–136Google Scholar
  26. Staaf H (1987) Foliage litter turnover and earthworm populations in three beech forests of contrasting soil and vegetation types. Oecologia 72:58–63Google Scholar
  27. Wolters V (1989) The influence of omnivorous elaterid larvae on the microbial carbon cycle in different forest soils. Oecologia 80:405–413Google Scholar
  28. Wolters V (1991) Effects of acid rain on leaf litter decomposition in a beech forest on calcareous soil. Biol Fertil Soils 11:151–156Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. G. Joergensen
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut für BodenwissenschaftenGöttingenGermany

Personalised recommendations