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Forests 2017, 8(3), 70; doi:10.3390/f8030070

Elevated CO2 and Tree Species Affect Microbial  Activity and Associated Aggregate Stability in Soil  Amended with Litter

1
Institute of Biological, Environmental & Rural Sciences, Aberystwyth University, Penglais, Aberystwyth SY23 3DA, UK
2
School of Environment, Natural Resources & Geography, Bangor University, Bangor LL57 2UW, UK
3
Institute of Forest Ecology, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna 1190, Austria
4
Soil and Water Science Department, College of Agriculture, AlQasim Green University, Al Qasim 13239 Iraq
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Robert Jandl and Mirco Rodeghiero
Received: 31 January 2017 / Accepted: 28 February 2017 / Published: 3 March 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Soil Respiration under Climate Changing)
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Abstract

(1) Elevated atmospheric CO2 (eCO2) may affect organic inputs to woodland soils with potential consequences for C dynamics and associated aggregation; (2) The Bangor Free Air Concentration Enrichment experiment compared ambient (330 ppmv) and elevated (550 ppmv) CO2 regimes over four growing seasons (2005–2008) under Alnus glutinosa, Betula pendula and Fagus sylvatica. Litter from the experiment (autumn 2008) and Lumbricus terrestris were added to mesocosm soils. Microbial properties and aggregate stability were investigated in soil and earthworm casts. Soils taken from the field experiment in spring 2009 were also investigated; (3) eCO2 litter had lower N and higher C:N ratios. F. sylvatica and B. pendula litter had lower N and P than A. glutinosa; F. sylvatica had higher cellulose. In mesocosms, eCO2 litter decreased respiration, mineralization constant (respired C:total organic C) and soluble carbon in soil but not earthworm casts; microbial‐C and fungal hyphal length differed by species (A. glutinosa = B. pendula > F. sylvatica) not CO2 regime. eCO2 increased respiration in field aggregates but increased stability only under F. sylvatica; (4) Lower litter quality under eCO2 may restrict its initial decomposition, affecting C stabilization in aggregates. Later resistant materials may support microbial activity and increase aggregate stability. In woodland, C and soil aggregation dynamics may alter under eCO2, but outcomes may be influenced by tree species and earthworm activity. View Full-Text
Keywords: FACE; litter quality; respiration; carbon; microbial biomass; fungal hyphae FACE; litter quality; respiration; carbon; microbial biomass; fungal hyphae
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MDPI and ACS Style

Al‐Maliki, S.M.J.; Jones, D.L.; Godbold, D.L.; Gwynn‐Jones, D.; Scullion, J. Elevated CO2 and Tree Species Affect Microbial  Activity and Associated Aggregate Stability in Soil  Amended with Litter. Forests 2017, 8, 70.

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