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Water, Air, & Soil Pollution

, Volume 223, Issue 7, pp 3701–3719 | Cite as

Nitrogen and Carbon Dynamics and the Role of Enchytraeid Worms in Decomposition of L, F and H Layers of Boreal Mor

  • Ari LaurénEmail author
  • Mari Lappalainen
  • Päivi Saari
  • Jussi V. K. Kukkonen
  • Harri Koivusalo
  • Sirpa Piirainen
  • Heikki Setälä
  • Tytti Sarjala
  • Dan Bylund
  • Jaakko Heinonen
  • Mika Nieminen
  • Marjo Palviainen
  • Samuli Launiainen
  • Leena Finér
Article

Abstract

Decomposition of organic material releases carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere, and dissolved organic carbon (DOC), dissolved organic nitrogen (DON) and ammonium (NH4–N) into soil water. Each of the decomposition products contributes differently to overall export of carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) to water courses. Our aim was to study the quantity and composition of the released C and N as affected by the organic material and soil fauna, represented by enchytraeid worms. We measured the release rate of carbon dioxide, and calculated the release rates for DOC and dissolved N in soil from repeated measurements of DOC and N pools during laboratory incubation of litter (L), fermented (F) and humus (H) layers of boreal forest mor. The intermediate decomposition products, DOC and DON, were characterised according to the molecule size. The release rate of the decomposition products was higher for fresh than for old organic material. The majority of N and C were released as NH4–N and CO2, respectively. The amount of extractable organic N in soil decreased by time but DON increased. Enchytraeids stimulated N mineralisation and the release of large molecule size DOC, particularly in L layer. The results suggest that organic N in extractable form biodegrades effectively, and that soil fauna have an important role in the decomposition. The results were interpreted from the water quality point of view and the implications of the results to modelling of decomposition and export of DOC and dissolved N to recipient water bodies are discussed. In the modelling context, the novelty of the study is the description of the intermediate decomposition products and the division of the dissolved organic compounds into low molecular weight and high molecular weight fractions.

Keywords

Ammonium Carbon dioxide Dissolved organic carbon Dissolved organic nitrogen Nitrate Soil fauna 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This study was financed by the Academy of Finland (projects 121991 and 214545) and by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (HAME project).

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ari Laurén
    • 1
    Email author
  • Mari Lappalainen
    • 1
  • Päivi Saari
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jussi V. K. Kukkonen
    • 3
  • Harri Koivusalo
    • 4
  • Sirpa Piirainen
    • 1
  • Heikki Setälä
    • 5
  • Tytti Sarjala
    • 6
  • Dan Bylund
    • 7
  • Jaakko Heinonen
    • 1
  • Mika Nieminen
    • 8
  • Marjo Palviainen
    • 9
  • Samuli Launiainen
    • 1
  • Leena Finér
    • 1
  1. 1.Joensuu UnitFinnish Forest Research InstituteJoensuuFinland
  2. 2.Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment, Central FinlandJyväskyläFinland
  3. 3.Department of BiologyUniversity of Eastern FinlandJoensuuFinland
  4. 4.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringAalto University School of EngineeringAaltoFinland
  5. 5.Department of Environmental SciencesUniversity of HelsinkiLahtiFinland
  6. 6.Parkano UnitFinnish Forest Research InstituteParkanoFinland
  7. 7.Department of Natural Sciences, Engineering and MathematicsMid Sweden UniversitySundsvallSweden
  8. 8.Vantaa UnitFinnish Forest Research InstituteVantaaFinland
  9. 9.Department of Forest SciencesUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland

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