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The role of the understory in litter DOC and nutrient leaching in boreal forests

Hensgens, Geert and Laudon, Hjalmar and Peichl, Matthias and Gil, Itziar Aguinaga and Zhou, Quan and Berggren, Martin (2020). The role of the understory in litter DOC and nutrient leaching in boreal forests. Biogeochemistry. 149 , 87-103
[Journal article]

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Abstract

Dissolved organic carbon (DOC) derived from plant litter plays an important role in the ecosystem carbon balance and soil biogeochemistry. However, in boreal coniferous forests no integrated understanding exists of how understory vegetation contributes to litter leaching of DOC, nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) with different bioavailability at the forest stand level. We characterized water extractable leachates from fresh and decayed litter of dominant canopy and understory sources in a boreal coniferous forest, in order to explore the contribution of understory vegetation as a source of both total and bioavailable forms of DOC, N and P. Recently produced litter from deciduous species (including Vaccinium myrtillus) yielded the highest amounts of DOC. However, this leaching potential decreased exponentially with mass loss through litter decay. The DOC lability generally showed little interspecific variation, although wood derived DOC was more recalcitrant. Lability decreased progressively with litter aging. Water extractable nutrients increased proportionally with DOC, and roughly a quarter (N) or half (P) had directly bioavailable inorganic forms. Scaled to annual litterfall at the forest stand, understory vegetation contributed 80% of the water extractable DOC and nutrients from fresh litter, with > 60% coming from Vaccinium myrtillus alone. However, as litter decomposes, the data suggest a lower leaching potential is maintained with a larger contribution from needle, wood and moss litter. Our study shows that understory vegetation, especially V. myrtillus, is a key driver of litter DOC and nutrient leaching in boreal coniferous forests.

Authors/Creators:Hensgens, Geert and Laudon, Hjalmar and Peichl, Matthias and Gil, Itziar Aguinaga and Zhou, Quan and Berggren, Martin
Title:The role of the understory in litter DOC and nutrient leaching in boreal forests
Year of publishing :2020
Volume:149
Page range:87-103
Number of Pages:17
Publisher:Springer Nature
ISSN:0168-2563
Language:English
Publication Type:Journal article
Article category:Scientific peer reviewed
Version:Published version
Copyright:Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0
Full Text Status:Public
Subjects:(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 4 Agricultural Sciences > 401 Agricultural, Forestry and Fisheries > Forest Science
Keywords:Boreal forest, Dissolved organic carbon, Fennoscandia, Leaching, Litter, V. myrtillus
URN:NBN:urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-p-105606
Permanent URL:
http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-p-105606
Additional ID:
Type of IDID
DOI10.1007/s10533-020-00668-5
Web of Science (WoS)000530167800001
ID Code:17085
Faculty:S - Faculty of Forest Sciences
Department:(S) > Dept. of Forest Ecology and Management
Deposited By: SLUpub Connector
Deposited On:09 Jun 2020 06:27
Metadata Last Modified:09 Jun 2020 06:27

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