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The contribution of deadwood to soil carbon dynamics in contrasting temperate forest ecosystems

Shannon, V. L., Vanguelova, E. I., Morison, J. I. L., Shaw, L. J. and Clark, J. M. ORCID: (2022) The contribution of deadwood to soil carbon dynamics in contrasting temperate forest ecosystems. European Journal of Forest Research, 141. pp. 241-251. ISSN 1612-4677

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1007/s10342-021-01435-3


Deadwood forms a significant carbon pool in forest systems and is a potential source of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) input to soil, yet little is known about how deadwood effects forest soil carbon cycling. Deadwood DOC inputs to soil may be retained through sorption or may prime microbial decomposition of existing organic matter to produce additional DOC. To determine impacts of deadwood on soil C cycling, we analysed surface soil from beneath deadwood or leaf litter only, along chronosequences of stands of lowland oak and upland Sitka spruce. The concentration and quality (by optical indices) of water-extracted soil DOC (water-extractable organic carbon; WEOC), in situ decomposition ‘tea bag index’ (TBI) parameters and enzymatic potential assays (β-D-cellubiosidase, β-glucosidase, β-xylosidase, leucine aminopeptidase, phosphatase, phenol oxidase) were determined. Presence of deadwood significantly (p<0.05) increased WEOC concentration (~1.5 - ~1.75 times) in the mineral oak soil but had no effect on WEOC in spruce soils, potentially because spruce deadwood DOC inputs were masked by a high background of WEOC (1168 mg kg-1 soil) and/or were not retained through mineral sorption in the highly organic (~90% SOM) soil. TBI and enzyme evidence suggested that deadwood-derived DOC did not impact existing forest carbon pools via microbial priming, possibly due to the more humified/aromatic quality of DOC produced (humification index of 0.75 and 0.65 for deadwood and leaf litter WEOC, respectively). Forest carbon budgets, particularly those for mineral soils, may underestimate the quantity of DOC if derived from soil monitoring that does not include a deadwood component.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Earth Systems Science
Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Department of Geography and Environmental Science
Interdisciplinary centres and themes > Soil Research Centre
ID Code:101901


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