Management impacts on the dissolved organic carbon release from deadwood, ground vegetation and the forest floor in a temperate oak woodland

Hollands, C.; Shannon, V.L.; Sawicka, K.; Vanguelova, E.I.; Benham, S.E.; Shaw, L.J.; Clark, J.M.. 2022 Management impacts on the dissolved organic carbon release from deadwood, ground vegetation and the forest floor in a temperate oak woodland. Science of the Total Environment, 805, 150399. 9, pp.

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The forest floor is often considered the most important source of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) in forest soils, yet little is known about the relative contribution from different forest floor layers, understorey vegetation and deadwood. Here, we determine the carbon stocks and potential DOC production from forest materials: deadwood, ground vegetation, leaf litter, the fermentation layer and top mineral soil (Ah horizon), and further assess the impact of management. Our research is based on long-term monitoring plots in a temperate deciduous woodland, with one set of plots actively managed by thinning, understorey scrub and deadwood removal, and another set that were not managed in 23 years. We examined long-term data and a spatial survey of forest materials to estimate the relative carbon stocks and concentrations and fluxes of DOC released from these different pools. Long-term soil water monitoring revealed a large difference in median DOC concentrations between the unmanaged (43.8 mg L−1) and managed (18.4 mg L−1) sets of plots at 10 cm depth over six years, with the median DOC concentration over twice as high in the unmanaged plots. In our spatial survey, a significantly larger cumulative flux of DOC was released from the unmanaged than the managed site, with 295.5 and 230.3 g m−2, respectively. Whilst deadwood and leaf litter released the greatest amount of DOC per unit mass, when volume of the material was considered, leaf litter contributed most to DOC flux, with deadwood contributing least. Likewise, there were significant differences in the carbon stocks held by different forest materials that were dependent on site. Vegetation and the fermentation layer held more carbon in the managed site than unmanaged, whilst the opposite occurred in deadwood and the Ah horizon. These findings indicate that management affects the allocation of carbon stored and DOC released between different forest materials.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Soils and Land Use (Science Area 2017-)
ISSN: 0048-9697
Additional Keywords: DOC, carbon cycling, broadleaf woodland, soil, management
NORA Subject Terms: Agriculture and Soil Science
Date made live: 28 Sep 2021 16:14 +0 (UTC)

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