Molecular level soil organic matter and nutrient dynamics under silvi-cultural management

DFG GL 327/10-1

From 01/2007 to 12/2010

Principal Investigator: Bruno Glaser, Wolfgang Zech
Staff: Marianne Benesch, Jan Pfister

For the sustainable use of the Munessa Forests the application of proper silvicultural management practices are obligatory. Up to now it is not known how such practices like intense promotion or enrichment planting influence the nutrient supply of trees and the soil organic matter (SOM) as the most important compartment for tropical soil sustainability. We will study the effects of such practices on molecular level SOM dynamics by compound-specific stable isotope analyses of selected biomarkers. Also the effects on the nutrient supply of trees will be monitored by analysing their foliar nutrient contents. In detail, the objective of the project is to compare soil organic matter (SOM) turnover and sequestration between natural forests (Croton, Prunus and Podocarpus) and forest plantations with Cupressus lusitanica using the experiment established by the silvicultural project in the Munessa Forest, Ethiopia. For this purpose, in situ 15N and 13C labeling of Podocarpus falcatus, Croton macrostachys, Prunus africana and Cupressus lusitanica will be applied (Figures 1 - 3) and turnover and sequestration of labelled litter in soil will be studied using sophisticated analytical approaches such as compound-specific stable isotope analysis of individual plant- and microbial-derived sugars and phospholipid fatty acids.


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