, Volume 74, Issue 2, pp 257–282 | Cite as

Leaching of dissolved organic carbon, dissolved organic nitrogen, and other solutes from coarse woody debris and litter in a mixed forest in New York State

  • Sasha D. HafnerEmail author
  • Peter M. Groffman
  • Myron J. Mitchell


Coarse woody debris (CWD) may play a role in nutrient cycling in temperate forests through the leaching of solutes, including dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and dissolved organic nitrogen (DON), to the underlying soil. These fluxes need to be considered in element budget calculations, and have the potential to influence microbial activity, soil development, and other processes in the underlying soil, but studies on leaching from CWD are rare. In this study, we collected throughfall, litter leachate, and CWD leachate in situ at a young mixed lowland forest in NY State, USA over one year. We measured the concentrations of DOC, DON, NH4+, NO3, dissolved organic sulfur, SO42−, Cl, Al, Ca, K, Mg, Na, and P, estimated the flux of these solutes in throughfall, and measured the cover of CWD to gain some insight into possible fluxes from CWD. Concentrations of DOC were much higher in CWD leachate than in throughfall or litter leachate (15 vs. 0.7 and 1.6 mM, respectively), and greater than reported values for other leachates from within forested ecosystems. Other solutes showed a similar pattern, with inorganic N being an exception. Our results suggest that microsite scale fluxes of DOC from CWD may be An high relative to throughfall and litter leaching fluxes, but since CWD covered a relatively small fraction (2%) of the forest floor in our study, ecosystem scale fluxes from CWD may be negligible for this site. Soil directly beneath CWD may be influenced by CWD leaching, in terms of soil organic matter, microbial activity, and N availability. Concentrations of some metals showed correlations to DOC concentrations, highlighting the possibility of complexation by DOM. Several solute concentrations in throughfall, including DOC, showed positive correlations to mean air temperature, and fewer showed positive correlations in litter leachate, while negative correlations were observed to precipitation, suggesting both biological and hydrologic control of solute concentrations.


Coarse woody debris Dissolved organic matter Leaching Litter Temperate forest 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sasha D. Hafner
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Peter M. Groffman
    • 3
  • Myron J. Mitchell
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of Environmental and Forest Biology, College of Environmental Science and ForestryState University of New YorkSyracuseUSA
  2. 2.Department of Biological and Environmental EngineeringCornell UniversityIthacaUSA
  3. 3.Institute of Ecosystem StudiesMillbrookUSA

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