Skip to main content

Advertisement

Log in

Tree species effects on coupled cycles of carbon, nitrogen, and acidity in mineral soils at a common garden experiment

  • Published:
Biogeochemistry Aims and scope Submit manuscript

Abstract

Forest biogeochemical cycles are shaped by effects of dominant tree species on soils, but the underlying mechanisms are not well understood. We investigated effects of temperate tree species on interactions among carbon (C), nitrogen (N), and acidity in mineral soils from an experiment with replicated monocultures of 14 tree species. To identify how trees affected these soil properties, we evaluated correlations among species-level characteristics (e.g. nutrient concentrations in leaf litter, wood, and roots), stand-level properties (e.g. nutrient fluxes through leaf litterfall, nutrient pools in stemwood), and components of soil C, N, and cation cycles. Total extractable acidity (aciditytot) was correlated positively with mineral soil C stocks (R 2 = 0.72, P < 0.001), such that a nearly two-fold increase in aciditytot was associated with a more than two-fold increase of organic C. We attribute this correlation to effects of tree species on soil acidification and subsequent mineral weathering reactions, which make hydrolyzing cations available for stabilization of soil organic matter. The effects of tree species on soil acidity were better understood by measuring multiple components of soil acidity, including pH, the abundance of hydrolyzing cations in soil solutions and on cation exchange sites, and aciditytot. Soil pH and aciditytot were correlated with proton-producing components of the soil N cycle (e.g. nitrification), which were positively correlated with species-level variability in fine root N concentrations. Soluble components of soil acidity, such as aluminum in saturated paste extracts, were more strongly related to plant traits associated with calcium cycling, including leaf and root calcium concentrations. Our results suggest conceptual models of plant impacts on soil biogeochemistry should be revised to account for underappreciated plant traits and biogeochemical processes.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Subscribe and save

Springer+ Basic
EUR 32.99 /Month
  • Get 10 units per month
  • Download Article/Chapter or Ebook
  • 1 Unit = 1 Article or 1 Chapter
  • Cancel anytime
Subscribe now

Buy Now

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4

Similar content being viewed by others

References

  • Alriksson A, Eriksson HM (1998) Variations in mineral nutrient and C distribution in the soil and vegetation compartments of five temperate tree species in NE Sweden. For Ecol Manag 108(3):261–273

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Amacher MC, Henderson RE, Breithaupt MD, Seale CL, LaBauve JM (1990) Unbuffered and buffered salt methods for exchangeable cations and effective cation-exchange capacity. Soil Sci Soc Am J 54(4):1036–1042

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Augusto L, Ranger J, Binkley D, Rothe A (2002) Impact of several common tree species of European temperate forests on soil fertility. Ann For Sci 59(3):233–253

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Binkley D (1995) The influence of tree species on forest soils: processes and patterns. In: Mead DJ, Cornforth IS (eds) Proceedings of the Trees and Soils Workshop. Agronomy Society of New Zealand

  • Binkley D, Giardina C (1998) Why do tree species affect soils? The warp and woof of tree-soil interactions. Biogeochemistry 42(1–2):89–106

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Binkley D, Richter D (1987) Nutrient cycles and H+ budgets of forest ecosystems. Adv Ecol Res 16:1–51

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Binkley D, Valentine D (1991) 50-year biogeochemical effects of green ash, white pine, and Norway spruce in a replicated experiment. For Ecol Manag 40(1–2):13–25

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Campbell JL, Rustad LE, Boyer EW, Christopher SF, Driscoll CT, Fernandez IJ, Groffman PM, Houle D, Kiekbusch J, Magill AH, Mitchell MJ, Ollinger SV (2009) Consequences of climate change for biogeochemical cycling in forests of northeastern North America. Can J For Res 39(2):264–284

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Chadwick OA, Chorover J (2001) The chemistry of pedogenic thresholds. Geoderma 100:321–353

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Chorover J, Kretzschmar R, Garcia-Pichel F, Sparks DL (2007) Soil biogeochemical processes within the critical zone. Elements 3(5):321–326

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Dauer JM, Chorover J, Chadwick OA, Oleksyn J, Tjoelker MG, Hobbie SE, Reich PB, Eissenstat DM (2007) Controls over leaf and litter calcium concentrations among temperate trees. Biogeochemistry 86(2):175–187

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • De Schrijver A, Geudens G, Augusto L, Staelens J, Mertens J, Wuyts K, Gielis L, Verheyen K (2007) The effect of forest type on throughfall deposition and seepage flux: a review. Oecologia 153(3):663–674

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • De Schrijver A, De Frenne P, Staelens J, Verstraeten G, Muys B, Vesterdal L, Wuyts K, Van Nevel L, Schelfhout S, De Neve S, Verheyen K (2011) Tree species cause divergence in soil acidification during four decades of post-agricultural forest development. Global Change Biol. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2486.2011.02572.x

  • Dijkstra FA, Fitzhugh RD (2003) Aluminum solubility and mobility in relation to organic carbon in surface soils affected by six tree species of the northeastern United States. Geoderma 114(1–2):33–47

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ellison AM, Bank MS, Clinton BD, Colburn EA, Elliott K, Ford CR, Foster DR, Kloeppel BD, Knoepp JD, Lovett GM, Mohan J, Orwig DA, Rodenhouse NL, Sobczak WV, Stinson KA, Stone JK, Swan CM, Thompson J, Von Holle B, Webster JR (2005) Loss of foundation species: consequences for the structure and dynamics of forested ecosystems. Front Ecol Environ 3(9):479–486

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Fierer N, Strickland MS, Liptzin D, Bradford MA, Cleveland CC (2009) Global patterns in belowground communities. Ecol Lett 12(11):1238–1249

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Finzi AC, Canham CD, Van Breemen N (1998a) Canopy tree soil interactions within temperate forests: species effects on pH and cations. Ecol Appl 8(2):447–454

    Google Scholar 

  • Finzi AC, Van Breemen N, Canham CD (1998b) Canopy tree soil interactions within temperate forests: species effects on soil carbon and nitrogen. Ecol Appl 8(2):440–446

    Google Scholar 

  • Fujii K, Funakawa S, Hayakawa C, Kosaki T (2008) Contribution of different proton sources to pedogenetic soil acidification in forested ecosystems in Japan. Geoderma 144(3–4):478–490

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Gundersen P, Rasmussen L (1990) Nitrification in forest soils—effects from nitrogen deposition on soil acidification and aluminum release. Rev Environ Contam Toxicol 113:1–45

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hagen-Thorn A, Callesen I, Armolaitis K, Nihlgard B (2004) The impact of six European tree species on the chemistry of mineral topsoil in forest plantations on former agricultural land. For Ecol Manag 195(3):373–384

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hobbie SE, Reich PB, Oleksyn J, Ogdahl M, Zytkowiak R, Hale C, Karolewski P (2006) Tree species effects on decomposition and forest floor dynamics in a common garden. Ecology 87(9):2288–2297

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hobbie SE, Ogdahl M, Chorover J, Chadwick OA, Oleksyn J, Zytkowiak R, Reich PB (2007) Tree species effects on soil organic matter dynamics: the role of soil cation composition. Ecosystems 10(6):999–1018

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hobbie SE, Oleksyn J, Eissenstat DM, Reich PB (2010) Fine root decomposition rates do not mirror those of leaf litter among temperate tree species. Oecologia 162(2):505–513

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Jegou D, Cluzeau D, Hallaire V, Balesdent J, Trehen P (2000) Burrowing activity of the earthworms Lumbricus terrestris and Aporrectodea giardi and consequences on C transfers in soil. Eur J Soil Biol 36(1):27–34

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Manzoni S, Porporato A (2009) Soil carbon and nitrogen mineralization: theory and models across scales. Soil Biol Biochem 41(7):1355–1379

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Mareschal L, Bonnaud P, Turpault MP, Ranger J (2010) Impact of common European tree species on the chemical and physicochemical properties of fine earth: an unusual pattern. Eur J Soil Sci 61(1):14–23

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Menyailo OV, Hungate BA, Zech W (2002a) The effect of single tree species on soil microbial activities related to C and N cycling in the Siberian artificial afforestation experiment—Tree species and soil microbial activities. Plant Soil 242(2):183–196

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Menyailo OV, Hungate BA, Zech W (2002b) Tree species mediated soil chemical changes in a Siberian artificial afforestation experiment—Tree species and soil chemistry. Plant Soil 242(2):171–182

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Mikutta R, Zang U, Chorover J, Haumaier L, Kalbitz K (2011) Stabilization of extracellular polymeric substances (Bacillus subtilis) by adsorption to and coprecipitation with Al forms. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 75:3135–3154

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Moukoumi J, Munier-Lamy C, Berthelin J, Ranger J (2006) Effect of tree species substitution on organic matter biodegradability and mineral nutrient availability in a temperate topsoil. Ann For Sci 63(7):763–771

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Muukkonen P (2007) Generalized allometric volume and biomass equations for some tree species in Europe. Eur J For Res 126(2):157–166

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Parton W, Silver WL, Burke IC, Grassens L, Harmon ME, Currie WS, King JY, Adair EC, Brandt LA, Hart SC, Fasth B (2007) Global-scale similarities in nitrogen release patterns during long-term decomposition. Science 315(5810):361–364

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Prescott CE (2005) Do rates of litter decomposition tell us anything we really need to know? For Ecol Manag 220(1–3):66–74

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Priha O, Smolander A (1999) Nitrogen transformations in soil under Pinus sylvestris, Picea abies and Betula pendula at two forest sites. Soil Biol Biochem 31(7):965–977

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Reich PB, Oleksyn J, Modrzynski J, Mrozinski P, Hobbie SE, Eissenstat DM, Chorover J, Chadwick OA, Hale CM, Tjoelker MG (2005) Linking litter calcium, earthworms and soil properties: a common garden test with 14 tree species. Ecol Lett 8(8):811–818

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ross DS, Matschonat G, Skyllberg U (2008) Cation exchange in forest soils: the need for a new perspective. Eur J Soil Sci 59(6):1141–1159

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Scheel T, Jansen B, van Wijk AJ, Verstraten JM, Kalbitz K (2008) Stabilization of dissolved organic matter by aluminium: a toxic effect or stabilization through precipitation? Eur J Soil Sci 59(6):1122–1132

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Sinsabaugh RL, Lauber CL, Weintraub MN, Ahmed B, Allison SD, Crenshaw C, Contosta AR, Cusack D, Frey S, Gallo ME, Gartner TB, Hobbie SE, Holland K, Keeler BL, Powers JS, Stursova M, Takacs-Vesbach C, Waldrop MP, Wallenstein MD, Zak DR, Zeglin LH (2008) Stoichiometry of soil enzyme activity at global scale. Ecol Lett 11(11):1252–1264

    Google Scholar 

  • Staff SSL (2004) Soil survey laboratory methods manual. In: Burt R (ed) Soil survey investigations report. Lincoln, NE

  • Ter-Mikaelian MT, Korzukhin MD (1997) Biomass equations for sixty-five North American tree species. For Ecol Manag 97(1):1–24

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • van Breemen N, Mulder J, Driscoll CT (1983) Acidification and alkalinization of soils. Plant Soil 75(3):283–308

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Vesterdal L, Schmidt IK, Callesen I, Nilsson LO, Gundersen P (2008) Carbon and nitrogen in forest floor and mineral soil under six common European tree species. For Ecol Manag 255(1):35–48

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • von Lutzow M, Kogel-Knabner I, Ekschmitt K, Matzner E, Guggenberger G, Marschner B, Flessa H (2006) Stabilization of organic matter in temperate soils: mechanisms and their relevance under different soil conditions—a review. Eur J Soil Sci 57(4):426–445

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Wardle DA, Bardgett RD, Klironomos JN, Setälä H, van der Putten WH, Wall DH (2004) Ecological linkages between aboveground and belowground biota. Science 304(5677):1629–1633

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Withington JM, Reich PB, Oleksyn J, Eissenstat DM (2006) Comparisons of structure and life span in roots and leaves among temperate trees. Ecol Monogr 76(3):381–397

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Zianis D, Muukkonen P, Mäkipää R, Mencuccini M (2005) Biomass and stem volume equations for tree species in Europe. Silva Fennica Monogr 4:1–63

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgments

We thank Burt Thomas, Katherine Freeman, Jörg Prietzl, Michael Castellano, and Jason Kaye for helpful discussion. DME and KEM acknowledge National Science Foundation (NSF) awards DEB-0816935 and OISE-0754731. OAC, JC, DME, SEH, JO, and PBR were also supported by NSF DEB-0128958. KEM received a US Department of Energy Graduate Research Environmental Fellowship and a European Association of Organic Geochemists travel award.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Kevin E. Mueller.

Electronic supplementary material

Below is the link to the electronic supplementary material.

Supplementary material 1 (DOC 190 kb)

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Mueller, K.E., Eissenstat, D.M., Hobbie, S.E. et al. Tree species effects on coupled cycles of carbon, nitrogen, and acidity in mineral soils at a common garden experiment. Biogeochemistry 111, 601–614 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10533-011-9695-7

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10533-011-9695-7

Keywords

Navigation