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Forest floor characteristics under longleaf pinus palustris and slash pine pinus elliottii on 2 spodosols



Forest floor characteristics under longleaf pinus palustris and slash pine pinus elliottii on 2 spodosols



Forest Ecology and Management 5(3): 193-206



Forest floor materials from a 45-yr-old natural stand of P. palustris-P. elliottii growing on 2 coastal flatwood Spodosols (Electra and Wauchula fine sands), differing mainly in drainage characteristics were similar except for total and organic matter weights and Al and Fe concentrations. The floors averaged 9.8 and 28.0 tons/ha total dry weight in the 01(L) and 02(F + H) layers, respectively. Mineral soil represented 12 and 28% of the weights of these 2 layers. The 01 layer was equivalent to .apprx. 1.5 times and the 02 about 3.7 times the annual litter fall of the stands. The generally low nutrient concentrations, particularly of N (0.58 and 1.02% in 01 and 02 layers) and P (0.025 and 0.045%) are believed to influence decomposition rate of floor materials and result in a relatively heavy accumulation. This conclusion was supported by the wide C:N ratios of 92 (01 layer) and 53 (02 layer) and C:P ratios of 2116 and 1200 in these layers. Cation exchange capacity (CEC) at field pH averaged 32 and 45 meq/100 g of 01 and 02 material on an ash-free basis. Grinding to pass a 20-mesh sieve significantly increased CEC of 01, but not of 02 materials. CEC increased linearly with decreasing acidity of the saturating solutions over the range of pH 4-7. The increase was from 35-75 meq/100 g in 01 materials and from 62-128 meq/100 g in 02 materials over this pH range. The correlation between ash-free total N and CEC (pH 7) was highly significant (r2 = 0.87), with 1.65 meq/100 g CEC associated with each meq/100 g N. The water-soluble organic materials contained similar types of chemical structures which differed only in numbers of functional groups.

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