Plant and Soil

, Volume 330, Issue 1–2, pp 465–479 | Cite as

Dynamics of the water extractable organic carbon pool during mineralisation in soils from a Douglas fir plantation and an oak-beech forest—an incubation experiment

  • Anthony GauthierEmail author
  • Philippe Amiotte-Suchet
  • Paul N. Nelson
  • Jean Lévêque
  • Bernd Zeller
  • Catherine Hénault
Regular Article


In the context of land use change, the dynamics of the water extractable organic carbon (WEOC) pool and CO2 production were studied in soil from a native oak-beech forest and a Douglas fir plantation during a 98-day incubation at a range of temperatures from 8°C to 28°C. The soil organic carbon, water contents and mineralisation rates of soil samples from the 0–5 cm layer were higher in the native forest than in the Douglas fir plantation. During incubation, a temperature-dependent shift in the δ13C of respired CO2 was observed, suggesting that different carbon compounds were mineralised at different temperatures. The initial size of the WEOC pool was not affected by forest type. The WEOC pool size of samples from the native forest did not change consistently over time whereas it decreased significantly in samples from the Douglas plantation, irrespective of soil temperature. No clear changes in the δ13C values of the WEOC were observed, irrespective of soil origin. The fate of the WEOC, independent of soil organic carbon content or mineralisation rates, appeared to relate to forest types. Replacement of native oak-beech forest with Douglas fir plantation impacts carbon input to the soil, mineralisation rates and production of dissolved organic carbon.


Dissolved organic carbon Deciduous Coniferous Delta 13C Mineralisation 



This work was supported by grants from the Regional Council of Burgundy and from the Seine-Normandie Water Agency. The authors are grateful to Marie-Jeanne Milloux for performing stable isotope analysis of carbon, to Florian Bizouard for his technical help and to Olivier Mathieu for discussions. P. Nelson’s involvement was funded by the Marine and Tropical Science Research Facility and the Department of Environment, Science and Training through the International Science Linkages programme, French-Australian Science and Technology Programme. The manuscript has been greatly improved thanks to the comments of an anonymous reviewer on the initial version.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anthony Gauthier
    • 1
    Email author
  • Philippe Amiotte-Suchet
    • 2
  • Paul N. Nelson
    • 3
  • Jean Lévêque
    • 2
  • Bernd Zeller
    • 4
  • Catherine Hénault
    • 1
  1. 1.INRA, UMR 1229 Microbiologie du Sol et de l’EnvironnementDijon CedexFrance
  2. 2.UMR CNRS 5561 BiogéosciencesUniversité de BourgogneDijonFrance
  3. 3.School of Earth and Environmental SciencesJames Cook UniversityCairnsAustralia
  4. 4.INRA, UR 1138 Biogéochimie des Ecosystèmes ForestiersChampenouxFrance

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