Calcium mineralization in the forest floor and surface soil beneath different tree species in the northeastern US

F.A. Dijkstra

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    54 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Calcium (Ca) is an important element for neutralizing soil acidity in temperate forests. The immediate availability of Ca in forested acid soils is largely dependent on mineralization of organic Ca, which may differ significantly among tree species. I estimated net Ca mineralization in the forest floor and upper 15cm of mineral soil beneath six tree species in a mixed-species forest in northwestern Connecticut, using the buried bag method. Net Ca mineralization in the forest floor was significantly correlated with mass loss of the decomposing forest floor litter. Higher mass loss fractions during the summer and in forest floors beneath sugar maple (Acer saccharum) and white ash (Fraxinus americana) coincided with higher net Ca mineralization rates. More Ca was released per unit mass loss of forest floor beneath sugar maple and white ash (362 and 390mmolkg-1, respectively) than beneath American beech (Fagus grandifolia), red maple (Acer rubrum), red oak (Quercus rubra) and hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) (183, 133, 147, and 190mmolkg-1, respectively). Due to the high forest floor mass beneath red maple, beech, red oak, and hemlock, net Ca mineralization in the forest floor per unit area beneath these tree species did not differ significantly from sugar maple and white ash (ranging between 80mmolm-2 per year for beech and 141mmolm-2 per year for sugar maple). Net Ca mineralization in the mineral soil was significantly larger beneath sugar maple (142mmolm-2 per year) than beneath the other tree species (ranging between -10mmolm-2 per year for beech and 55mmolm-2 per year for white ash). These results show that Ca mineralization rates are large and differ significantly among tree species, affecting the spatial pattern of soil acidity and Ca availability in a mixed-species forest stand.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)185-194
    JournalForest Ecology and Management
    Volume175
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2003

    Keywords

    • litter decomposition
    • nutrient release
    • hubbard brook
    • leaf litter
    • mass-loss
    • nitrogen
    • chemistry
    • nutrition
    • dynamics
    • wisconsin

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