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Litter and forest floor dynamics in a pinus resinosa plantation in wisconsin usa



Litter and forest floor dynamics in a pinus resinosa plantation in wisconsin usa



Plant & Soil 96(3): 393-406



Breakdown of dry matter and release of nutrients from decomposing leaf litter and forest-floor material were measured in a 34-year-old red pine (Pinus resinosa Ait.) plantation in central Wisconsin using (1) leaf-litter bags (2) litterfall and forest-floor nutrient data and an exponential decay function, and (3) nutrient flux data and a mass balance equation. After one year of decomposition, 77% of the original dry matter in leaf-litter bags remained. The release of macronutrients in decomposing leaf litter was K > Mg > P, S > N > Ca, and the release of micronutrients and aluminum was Mn, B > Al > Cu > Zn. Nitrogen in decomposing leaf litter showed the leaching, accumulation, and final release phases delineated by Berg and Staff4. Half-lives of dry matter and nutrients in the forest floor ranged from 0.5 (K) to 39 (Al) yr. Forest-floor turnover rates of the various elements followed the same trends as in leaf-litter bags except that Ca turned over more readily than P, S, and N and Zn turned over more readily than the other micronutrients. A forest-floor nutrient balance sheet confirmed that the macronutrients N and Ca are accumulating most readily in the forest floor. The overall implications of these trends for tree nutrition are discussed.

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