, Volume 52, Issue 2, pp 173–205 | Cite as

Fluxes and concentrations of dissolved organic carbon and nitrogen – a synthesis for temperate forests

  • B. MichalzikEmail author
  • K. Kalbitz
  • J.-H. Park
  • S. Solinger
  • E. Matzner


Dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and nitrogen (DON)represent an important part of the C and N cycles inforest ecosystems. Little is known about the controlson fluxes and concentrations of these compounds insoils under field conditions. Here we compiledpublished data on concentrations and fluxes of DOC andDON from 42 case studies in forest ecosystems of thetemperate zone in order to evaluate controls on alarger temporal and spatial scale. The focus was onannual fluxes and concentrations in throughfall,forest floor leachates and soil solutions. In allcompartments considered, concentrations and fluxesdiffered widely between the sites. Highestconcentrations of DOC and DON were generally observedin forest floor leachates and in A horizons. Highestfluxes occurred in forest floor leachates. The fluxesof DOC and DON in forest floor leachates increasedwith increasing annual precipitation and were alsopositively related to DOC and DON fluxes withthroughfall. Variation in throughfall fluxes couldexplain 46% and 65% of the variation in DOC and DONfluxes from the forest floor, respectively. No generaldifference in DOC and DON concentrations and fluxes inforest floor leachates was found when comparingconiferous and hardwood sites. Concentrations of DOCin forest floor leachates were positively correlatedto the pH of the forest floor. Furthermore, there wasno relationship between organic C and N stocks, soilC/N, litterfall or mineral N inputs and concentrationsand fluxes of DOC and DON in forest floor leachates.Including all compartments, fluxes of DOC and DON werehighly correlated. Ratios of DOC to DON calculatedfrom fluxes from the forest floor were independent ofthe amount of annual precipitation, pointing to asimilar response of DOC and DON to precipitationconditions. A decrease in the ratio of DOC to DON withsoil depth as observed on a plot-scale, was notconfirmed by data analysis on a large scale. Thecontrols observed on annual fluxes and concentrationsof DON and DOC at regional scale differed from thosereported for smaller time and space scales.

dissolved organic carbon dissolved organic nitrogen forest ecosystems regional scale 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • B. Michalzik
    • 1
    Email author
  • K. Kalbitz
    • 2
  • J.-H. Park
    • 2
  • S. Solinger
    • 2
  • E. Matzner
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Soil Ecology, Bayreuth Institute of Terrestrial Ecosystem Research (BITÖK)University of BayreuthBayreuthGermany
  2. 2.Department of Soil Ecology, Bayreuth Institute of Terrestrial Ecosystem Research (BIT*Ouml;K)University of BayreuthBayreuthGermany

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