Soil Organic Matter Mineralization as Driven by Nutrient Stoichiometry in Soils Under Differently Managed Forest Stands

2020-09-03 | journal article; research paper. A publication with affiliation to the University of Göttingen.

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​Soil Organic Matter Mineralization as Driven by Nutrient Stoichiometry in Soils Under Differently Managed Forest Stands​
Gan, H. Y.; Schöning, I.; Schall, P.; Ammer, C. & Schrumpf, M.​ (2020) 
Frontiers in Forests and Global Change3.​ DOI: 

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Gan, Huei Ying; Schöning, Ingo; Schall, Peter; Ammer, Christian; Schrumpf, Marion
Nutrient contents of soil organic matter in forests vary with regional differences in soil types and parent material, and can be modified by forest type and management intensity. Variation of organic carbon (OC)-to-nutrient ratios in soils supposedly alters microbial carbon and nutrient use efficiencies and the rates of OC-to-nutrient mineralization. Here, we studied mineralization rates of carbon (C), nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and sulfur (S) for topsoil samples from differently managed forest plots in Germany. Samples were incubated for two weeks in microlysimeters under controlled conditions. CO2 respiration, leachable dissolved organic carbon (DOC), nitrate (NO3–), ammonium (NH4+), sulfate (SO42–), and phosphate (PO43–) were determined as net organic C (OC) and nutrient mineralization rates. We hypothesized that in soils with high C-to-nutrient ratios, soil microbes may mobilize relatively more OC as CO2 or DOC than nutrients to meet their nutrient requirements. Further, we hypothesized that forest management practices, such as tree species selection and harvest intensity, potentially affect the stoichiometry of SOM mineralization by altering the ratios of C-to-nutrients in soils. Results showed that CO2-release rates were proportional to soil OC, but when normalized to microbial biomass C, they increased, similar to DOC leaching rates, with soil OC-to-N ratios. However, contrary to our expectation, higher soil OC-to-nutrient ratios did not go along with reduced nutrient leaching. Instead, when normalized to soil OC, the largest amounts of N, P, and S were leached in the most nutrient poor region, so that sites with highest soil OC-to-nutrient ratios had the smallest OC-to-nutrient mineralization ratio. Forest type and tree species selection affected soil stoichiometry only in the most nutrient poor region with higher OC-to-nutrient ratios under coniferous than deciduous forest sites. This potentially caused the significantly enhanced OC-normalized DOC leaching rates under coniferous forests. However, in the two other study regions tree species had a significant effect on N and S leaching rates and the ratio of OC-to-nutrient leaching despite similar stoichiometry. Overall, our study suggests that increasing nutrient scarcity enhances microbial based CO2 and DOC production, possibly because of increased energy demand for enzyme production and to remove excess OC to reach and mobilize more nutrients, thereby allowing for high nutrient leaching rates despite small total stocks. Forest management affected OC-to-nutrient mineralization rates mostly via tree species selection, but observed differences were not obviously caused by soil stoichiometry but rather by other ecological differences between forest types.
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Frontiers in Forests and Global Change 
Fakultät für Forstwissenschaften und Waldökologie ; Burckhardt-Institut ; Abteilung Waldbau und Waldökologie der gemäßigten Zonen 



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