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Faculty for Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences

Department Soil Ecology - Prof. Dr. Eva Lehndorff

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Michel, K; Matzner, E: Release of dissolved organic carbon and nitrogen from forest floors in relation to solid phase properties, respiration and N-mineralization, Journal of Plant Nutr. Soil Sci., 162, 645-652 (1999)
Dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and nitrogen (DON) are important components of the carbon and nitrogen turnover in soils. Little is known about the controls on the release of DOC and DON from forest floors, especially about the influence of solid phase properties.
We investigated the spatial variation of the release of DOC and DON from Oe and Oa forest floor samples at a regional scale. Samples were taken from 12 different Norway spruce sites with varying solid phase properties, including C/N ratio, pH, different fractions of extractable carbon and exchangeable cations. Most of these solid phase properties are available for large forested areas of Europe in high spatial resolution.
The samples were incubated at water holding capacity for eight weeks at 15 °C and then extracted with an artificial throughfall solution to measure DOC and DON release. The rates of soil respiration and N-mineralization were determined to estimate soil microbial activity.
The release of DOC and DON from Oe samples was two- to threefold higher than from Oa samples. The amounts released differed by one order of magnitude among the sites. The DOC/DON ratios in the percolates of the Oa samples were much higher as compared to the solid phase C/N, indicating different release rates of DOC and DON. In contrast, the DOC/DON ratios of the Oe percolates were in the range of the C/N ratios of the solid phase. The release of DOC and DON from Oe samples was not statistically correlated to any of the measured solid phase parameters, but to N-mineralization. The DOC and DON release from the Oa samples was positively related only to pH and soil respiration.
Overall it was not possible to explain the large spatial variation of DOC and DON release by the measured solid phase properties with satisfying accuracy.
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