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Fine root density and root biomass of two douglas fir stands on sandy soils in the netherlands 2. periodicity of fine root growth and estimation of belowground carbon allocation


Fine root density and root biomass of two douglas fir stands on sandy soils in the netherlands 2. periodicity of fine root growth and estimation of belowground carbon allocation



Netherlands Journal of Agricultural Science 39(1): 61-78



Detailed studies on the periodicity of fine root growth were carried out in the two Douglas-fir stands of the Dutch ACIFORN project over a two-year period. The perforon method allows the direct, in situ observation of root tips growing in long horizontal tubular channels in the soil. The number of white root tips was used as an indication of periodicity of fine root growth. In the first year the number of white root tips peaked just before budbreak, and then declined gradually towards autumn. Despite a fairly high soil temperature in the winter, few white root tips developed between October and April. In both stands, most of the fine roots died during the dry spring of the second year. There is some evidence that many fine roots died at bulk soil water pressure heads of around -0.08 MPa. Due to dry periods in the second year of observation, the periodicity of fine root growth showed a different pattern, especially in the stand with lower water holding capacity in the soil. Based on certain assumptions, the belowground carbon allocation in both stands was estimated from the biomass of fine and coarse roots. In the less productive stand more carbon per surface area is allocated to the fine roots than in the more productive stand, but the carbon allocation to the coarse roots is greater in the more productive stand. The effect of recent nitrogen deposition from the atmosphere on belowground carbon allocation is discussed briefly.

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