Above- and below-ground Litter Manipulation: Effect on Retention and Release of DOC, DON and DIN in the Sikfokut Forest, Hungary
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The above- and below-ground litter from fallen foliage and root exudates and their decomposition has an impact on forest soil. The objective of this research project was to determine the effect of above- and below-ground litter manipulation on the retention and release of dissolved organic carbon (DOC), dissolved organic nitrogen (DON), nitrate and ammonium in the soil profile at 0-5 and 5-15 cm depths. The soils were obtained from a Long Term Ecological Research site in the Sikfokut Forest in Hungary. The site is a mature oak forest and the soil has no organic layer; the leaf litter sits directly on the A horizon. There are six treatments applied to the soil: doubling of annual leaf litter (DL), doubling of annual wood litter (DW), removal of annual leaf litter (NL), removal of roots (NR), removal of leaf and roots (NI) and control (C). Each plot is 7 x 7 m, and each soil sample taken was 15 x 15 cm square. A stock solution of leaf litter was added in different concentrations to soils from each treatment in a 50 mL centrifuge tube. Because I was investigating retention or release of carbon and nitrogen, I inverted the tube gently over a period of 2 hours prior to centrifugation and removal of supernatant. The supernatant solution was analyzed for DOC, DON, ammonium and nitrate to determine retention and release values for each dependant upon the different treatments. The results of the study were interesting. Dissolved organic nitrogen was neither retained nor released in the 0-5 cm layer for any treatment yet nitrate, typically considered a mobile anion showed retention and release in this layer. In the 5-15 cm layer we had no retention or release of nitrate but dissolved organic nitrogen was retained and released between the solid and solution phases.
Evetts, Elizabeth A.; Peterson, Jacqueline A. (2009). Above- and below-ground Litter Manipulation: Effect on Retention and Release of DOC, DON and DIN in the Sikfokut Forest, Hungary. Available electronically from