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Forests 2017, 8(4), 95; doi:10.3390/f8040095

Mixed-Species Effects on Soil C and N Stocks, C/N Ratio and pH Using a Transboundary Approach in Adjacent Common Garden Douglas-Fir and Beech Stands

Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management, University of Copenhagen, Rolighedsvej 23, Copenhagen DK-1958, Denmark
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Academic Editor: Laurent Augusto
Received: 25 February 2017 / Revised: 17 March 2017 / Accepted: 20 March 2017 / Published: 23 March 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tree Species, as Major Drivers of Forest Ecosystems Functioning)
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Abstract

Mixed forest of Douglas-fir and beech has been suggested as one of the possible future forest types in Northwest Europe but the effects of this mixed forest on soil properties relative to monoculture stands are unknown. In a transboundary investigation of adjacent common garden Douglas-fir and beech stands, we determined the effects on topsoil properties. However, responses of C and N stocks, the C/N ratio and pH were site- and soil layer-specific and were mainly single-sided and without synergistic effects. Beech reduced the soil C and N stocks in Douglas-fir at the nutrient-poor site, caused an increase in the C/N ratio in the forest floor and mineral soil at both nutrient-poor and -rich sites, and reduced the acidifying effect of Douglas-fir at the nutrient-poor site. These results do not support the hypothesis that mixture effects would be consistent across sites and soil layers. The lack of synergistic effects may be attributed to the relatively similar litter quality or rooting depth that prevented any larger niche differentiation and complementarity. The results indicate that the transboundary approach within a mature common garden proved useful as a platform to test tree species interactions, and this approach could be explored in soil studies until dedicated mixed-species common gardens reach maturity. View Full-Text
Keywords: mixed-species forests; Douglas-fir; European beech; soil C stock; soil nutrient status; transboundary approach mixed-species forests; Douglas-fir; European beech; soil C stock; soil nutrient status; transboundary approach
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Dawud, S.M.; Vesterdal, L.; Raulund-Rasmussen, K. Mixed-Species Effects on Soil C and N Stocks, C/N Ratio and pH Using a Transboundary Approach in Adjacent Common Garden Douglas-Fir and Beech Stands. Forests 2017, 8, 95.

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