Effects of high litterfall amounts on the transport of mineral elements and dissolved organic matter in the soil of a warm temperate montane forest ecosystem in Taiwan

DFG: Taiwan

From 01/2003 to 05/2006

Principal Investigator: Egbert Matzner
Staff: Shih-Chieh Chang

High precipitation rates in Taiwan may result in a high risk of nutrient and dissolved organic matter losses from forest ecosystems with soil solution transport. In addition, frequently occurring typhoons have a strong effect on the annual amounts of litterfall in this region. Here we test the hypothesis that nutrient losses with soil solution significantly increase after exceptionally high litterfall inputs due to the quick decomposition of litter and the associated nutrient release. Furthermore we will quantify the role of dissolved organic matter for the overall mass loss during decomposition. To test the hypothesis we will experimentally manipulate the amount of litterfall in a warm temperate montane forest (Chamaecyparis obtuse var. formosana and Chamaecyparis formosensis). Soil solution chemistry will be investigated continuously in different depths. Element fluxes with soil solution will be calculated for control and manipulated plots. Decomposition studies with litterbags will be conducted to study decomposition dynamics and nutrient release from the litter. The results of litterbag studies and soil solution fluxes will be combined to elemental budgets which will give insight into the biogeochemistry of these ecosystems and indicate the key influence of typhoon events.

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