OJSS  Vol.1 No.3 , December 2011
Litter Decomposition and Soluble Carbon, Nitrogen, and Phosphorus Release in a Forest Ecosystem
ABSTRACT
Litter is an important source of easily mineralizable C, N, and P for microbial metabolism in forest ecosystems; however, its decomposition is dependent upon a variety of biotic and abiotic factors, including litter chemical composition and plant specie, soil properties, and climate. We investigated C, N, and P mineralization patterns of pine litter, oak and a mixture of various species commonly found in wetland landscape position. Litter species were incubated (alone and with soils) under laboratory conditions in the dark for 120 days. Samples were leached weekly and the leachates were analyzed for pH, E4:E6 ratio, dissolved organic carbon (DOC), total N, NO3, NH4, soluble reactive P, and total P. CO2 effluxes during the 120-d incubation period were measure using NaOH traps. Carbon loss was calculated as the sum of DOC and CO2 effluxes. Results indicated that patterns of C and N release varied with litter species and soil type. Mix species treatment resulted in larger DOC and N pulses compared to pine and oak treatments. The majority of the DOC, N, and P leached was retained by the soils. When litters were added to the soils, a greater proportion of the C was lost as CO2, while litter incubated alone lost more C as DOC. This result demonstrated the importance of the soil microbial community affecting the patterns of litter mineralization. Total N concentration and C:N ratio of the litter species were significantly correlated to C loss.

Cite this paper
nullM. Silveira, K. Reddy and N. Comerford, "Litter Decomposition and Soluble Carbon, Nitrogen, and Phosphorus Release in a Forest Ecosystem," Open Journal of Soil Science, Vol. 1 No. 3, 2011, pp. 86-96. doi: 10.4236/ojss.2011.13012.
References
[1]   H. Insan and K. H. Domsch, “Relationship between Organic Carbon and Microbial Biomass on Chronosequen- ces of Reclamation Sites,” Microbial Ecology, Vol. 15, No. 2, 1988, pp. 177-188. doi:10.1007/BF02011711

[2]   R. G. Qualls and B. L. Haines, “Biodegradability of Dis- solved Organic Matter in Forest Throughfall, Soil Solu- tion and Stream Water,” Soil Science Society of America Journal, Vol. 56, No. 2, 1992, pp. 578-586. doi:10.2136/sssaj1992.03615995005600020038x

[3]   A. H. Magill and L. D. Aber, “Dissolved Organic Carbon and Nitrogen Relationships in Forest Litter as Affected by Nitrogen Deposition,” Soil Biology and Biochemistry, Vol. 32, No. 5, 2000, pp. 603-613. doi:10.1016/S0038-0717(99)00187-X

[4]   M. J. I. Briones and P. Ineson, “Decomposition of Euca- lyptus Laves in Litter Mixtures,” Soil Biology and Bio- chemistry, Vol. 28, No. 10-11, 1996, pp. 1381-1388. doi:10.1016/S0038-0717(96)00158-7

[5]   R. J. Thomas and N. M. Asakawa, “Decomposition of Leaf Litter from Tropical Forage Grasses and Legumes,” Soil Biology and Biochemistry, Vol. 25, No. 10, 1993, pp. 1351- 1361. doi:10.1016/0038-0717(93)90050-L

[6]   T. B. Gartnes and Z. G. Cardon, “Decomposition Dyna- mics in Mix-Species Leaf Litter,” Oikos, Vol. 104, No. 2, 2004, pp. 230-246. doi:10.1111/j.0030-1299.2004.12738.x

[7]   V. C. Smith and M. A. Bradford, “Do Non-Additive Effects on Decomposition in Litter-Mix Experiments Result from Differences in Resource Quality between Litters?” Oikos, Vol. 102, No. 2, 2003, pp. 235-242. doi:10.1034/j.1600-0706.2003.12503.x

[8]   R. A. Hanse and D. C. Coleman, “Litter Complexity and Composition are Determinants of the Diversity and Spe- cies Composition of Orabatid Mites (Acari: Oribatida) in Litterbags,” Applied Soil Ecology, Vol. 9, No. 1-3, 1998, pp. 17-23. doi:10.1016/S0929-1393(98)00048-1

[9]   L. S. Vestgarden, “Carbon and Nitrogen Turnover in the Early Stage of Scots Pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) Needle Lit- ter Decomposition: Effects of Internal and External Ni- trogen,” Soil Biology and Biochemistry, Vol. 33, No. 4-5, 2001, pp. 465-474. doi:10.1016/S0038-0717(00)00187-5

[10]   D. J. Ross, K. R. Tate, P. C. D. Newton and H. Clark, “De- composability of C3 and C4 Grass Litter Sampled under Different Concentrations of Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide at a Natural CO2 Spring,” Plant and Soil, Vol. 240, No. 2, 2002, pp. 275-286. doi:10.1023/A:1015779431271

[11]   P. Dalias, J. M. Anderson, P. Bottner and M. M. C. Teaux, “Temperature Responses of Carbon Mineralization in Co- nifer Forest Soils from Different Regional Climates under Standard Laboratory Conditions,” Global Change Biol- ogy, Vol. 7, No. 2, 2001, pp. 181-192. doi:10.1046/j.1365-2486.2001.00386.x

[12]   T. Sariyildiz and J. M. Andersom, “Interactions between Litter Quality, Decomposition and Soil Fertility: A La- boratory Study,” Soil Biology and Biochemistry, Vol. 35, No. 3, 2003, pp. 391-399. doi:10.1016/S0038-0717(02)00290-0

[13]   G. Seneviratne, L. H. J. Van Holm, L. J. A. Balachandra, and S. A. Kulasooriya, “Differential Effects of Soil Prop- erties on Leaf Nitrogen Release,” Biology of Soils, Vol. 28, No. 3, 1999, pp. 238-243. doi:10.1007/s003740050488

[14]   N. A. Scott, C. V. Cole, E. T. Elliot and S. A. Huffman, “Soil Textural Control on Decomposition and Soil Organic Matter Dynamics,” Soil Society of America Journal, Vol. 60, No. 4, 1996, pp. 1102-1109. doi:10.2136/sssaj1996.03615995006000040020x

[15]   K. Kalbitz, S, Solinger, J. H. Park, B. Michalzik and E. Matzner, “Controls on the Dynamics of Dissolved Or- ganic Matter in Soils: A Review,” Soil Science, Vol. 165, No. 4, 2000, pp. 277-304. doi:10.1097/00010694-200004000-00001

[16]   G. Villegas-Pangga, G. J. Blair and D. B. Lefroy, “Meas- urement of Decomposition and Associated Nutrient Re- lease from Barrel Medic (Medicago truncatula) Hay and Chickpea (Cicer arientinum) Straw Using In Vitro Perfu- sion System,” Australian Journal of Agriculture Research, Vol. 51, No. 5, 2000, pp. 563-568. doi:10.1071/AR99118

[17]   C. M. Thirukkumaran and D. Parkinson, “Microbial Res- piration, Biomass, Metabolic Quotient and Litter Decom- position in a Lodgepole Pine Forest Floor Amended with Nitrogen and Phosphorus Fertilizers,” Soil Biology and Biochemistry, Vol. 32, No. 1, 2000, pp. 59-66. doi:10.1016/S0038-0717(99)00129-7

[18]   W. R. Horwath and E. A. Paul, “Microbial Biomass,” In: Weaver, R. W. et al., Ed., Methods of Soil Analysis, Part 2. Microbiological and Biochemical Properties, Soil Science Society of America, Madison, 1994, pp. 753-773.

[19]   W. F. DeBusk and K. R. Reddy, “Turnover of Detrital Organic Carbon in a Nutrient-Impacted Everglades Marsh,” Soil Science Society of America Journal, Vol. 62, No. 5, 1998, pp. 1460-1468. doi:10.2136/sssaj1998.03615995006200050045x

[20]   M. Corbeels, A. M. O’Connell, T. S. Grove, D. S. Mend- ham and S. J. Rance, “Nitrogen Release from Eucalyptus Leaves and Legumes Residues as Influenced by Their Biochemical Quality and Degree of Contact with Soil,” Plant and Soil, Vol. 250, No. 1, 2003, pp. 15-28. doi:10.1023/A:1022899212115

[21]   S. J. You, Y. Yin and H. E. Allen, “Partitioning of Dis- solved Organic Matter in Soils: Effects of pH and Water: Soil Ratio,” The Science of the Total Environment, Vol. 227, No. 2-3, 1999, pp. 155-160. doi:10.1016/S0048-9697(99)00024-8

[22]   A. L. Wright and K. R. Reddy, “Heterotrophic Microbial Activity in Northern Everglades Wetland Soils,” Soil Science Society of America Journal, Vol. 65, No. 6, 2001, pp. 1856-1864. doi:10.2136/sssaj2001.1856

[23]   R. Martens, “Estimation of Microbial Biomass in Soil by the Respiration Method: Importance of Soil pH and Flu- shing Methods for the Measurement of Respired CO2,” Soil Biology and Biochemistry, Vol. 19, No. 1, 1987, pp. 77-81. doi:10.1016/0038-0717(87)90128-3

[24]   SAS Institute, “SAS/STAT Guide for Personal Compu- ters. Version 6,” SAS Inst., Cary, 1999.

[25]   H. W. Hunt, “A Simulation Model for Decomposition in Grasslands,” Ecology, Vol. 58, No. 3, 1977, pp. 469-484. doi:10.2307/1938998

[26]   R. K. Wieder, J. E. Carrel, J. K. Rapp and C. L. Kucera, “De- composition of Tall Fescue (Festuca elatior var. Arun- dinacea) and Cellulose Litter on Surface Mines and a Tallgrass Prairie in Central Missouri, USA,” Journal of Applied Ecology, Vol. 20, No. 1, 1983, pp. 303-321. doi:10.2307/2403394

[27]   R. G. Qualls and B. L. Haines, “Fluxes of Dissolved Or- ganic Nutrients and Humic Substances in a Deciduous Forest,” Ecology, Vol. 72, No. 1, 1991, pp. 254-266. doi:10.2307/1938919

[28]   R. Aerts and H. Caluwe, “Nutritional and Plant-Mediated Controls on Leaf Litter Decomposition of Carex Spe- cies,” Ecology, Vol. 78, No. 1, 1997, pp. 244-260.

[29]   S. L. Tisdale, W. L. Nelson, J. D. Beaton and J. L. Havlin, “Soil Fertility and Fertilizers,” 5th Edition, Prentice Hall, New Delhi, 1995.

[30]   E. A. Paul, D. Harris, H. P. Collins, U. Schulthess and G. P. Robertson, “Evolution of CO2 and Soil Carbon Dy- namics in Biologically Managed, Row-Crop Agroecosys- tems,” Applied Soil Ecology, Vol. 11, No. 1, 1999, pp. 53- 65. doi:10.1016/S0929-1393(98)00130-9

[31]   N. Buchmann, “Biotic and Abiotic Factors Controlling Soil Respiration Rates in Picea Abies Stands,” Soil Biol- ogy and Biochemistry, Vol. 32, No. 11-12, 2000, pp. 1625- 1635. doi:10.1016/S0038-0717(00)00077-8

[32]   B. R. Wood, “Field Investigations on the Decomposition of Leaves of Eucalyptus Delegatensis in Relation to En- vironmental Factors,” Pedobiologia, Vol. 14, 1974, pp. 343-371.

[33]   T. Sariyildiz and J. M. Anderson, “Interactions between Litter Quality, Decomposition and Soil Fertility: A Labo- ratory Study,” Soil Biology and Biochemistry, Vol. 35, No. 3, 2003, pp. 391-399. doi:10.1016/S0038-0717(02)00290-0

[34]   A. Hector, A. J. Beale, A. Minns, S. J. Otway and J. H. Law- ton, “Consequences of the Reduction of Plant Diversity for Litter Decomposition: Effects through Litter Quality and Microenvironment,” Oikos, Vol. 90, No. 2, 2000, pp. 357-371. doi:10.1034/j.1600-0706.2000.900217.x

 
 
Top