Dynamics of soil organic matter in primary and secondary forest succession on sandy soils in The Netherlands: An application of the ROMUL model

M.A. Nadporozhskaya, G.M.J. Mohren, O.G. Chertov, A.S. Komarov, A.V. Mikhailov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


We applied the simulation model ROMUL of soil organic matter dynamics in order to analyse and predict forest soil organic matter (SOM) changes following stand growth and also to identify gaps of data and modelling problems. SOM build-up was analysed (a) from bare sand to forest soil during a primary succession in Scots pine forest and (b) on mature forest soil under Douglas fir plantations as an example of secondary succession in The Netherlands. As some of the experimental data were unreliable we compiled a set of various scenarios with different soil moisture regime, initial SOM pools and amount and quality of above and below ground litter input. This allowed us to find the scenarios that reflect the SOM dynamics more realistically. In the Scots pine forest, total litter input was estimated as 0.50 kg m-2 year-1. Two scenarios were defined for the test runs: (a) forest floor moisture regimes—‘dry, mesic and hydric’ and (b) augmenting a root litter pool with three ratios of needles and branches to roots: 1:1, 1:1.5 and 1:2.0. The scenario finally compiled had the following characteristics: (a) climate for dry site with summer drought and high winter moisture of forest floor; (b) a litter input of 0.25 kg m-2 year-1 above ground and 0.50 kg m-2 year-1 below ground; (c) a low nitrogen and ash content in all litter fall fractions. The test runs for the estimation of the initial SOM pools and the amount and proportion of above and below ground litter fall were also performed in the Douglas fir plantation. The inputs of above ground litter tested in various combinations were 0.30 and 0.60 kg m-2 year-1, and below ground litter 0.30, 0.60 and 0.90 kg m-2 year-1. The scenario that fitted the experimental data had an SOM pool of 20–25 kg m-2, an aboveground litter input of 0.6 kg m-2 year-1and a below ground litter input of 0.9 kg m-2 year-1. The long-term simulation corresponded well with the observed patterns of soil organic matter accumulation associated with the forest soil development in primary and secondary succession. During primary succession in Scots pine forest on dry sand there is a consistent accumulation of a raw humus forest floor. The soil dynamics in the Douglas fir plantation also coincide with the observed patterns of SOM changes during the secondary succession, with SOM decreasing significantly under young forest, and SOM being restored in the older stands.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)399-418
JournalEcological Modelling
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 2006


  • root production
  • pine stand
  • ecosystem
  • floor
  • nitrogen
  • chronosequence
  • decomposition
  • communities
  • nutrients
  • litter


Dive into the research topics of 'Dynamics of soil organic matter in primary and secondary forest succession on sandy soils in The Netherlands: An application of the ROMUL model'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this