Special Issue "Organic Matter Production and Decomposition in Forest Soils"

A special issue of Forests (ISSN 1999-4907). This special issue belongs to the section "Forest Ecology and Management".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (25 December 2019).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Choonsig Kim
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Forest Resources, Gyeongnam National University of Science and Technology, Jinju 52725, South Korea
Interests: carbon sequestration; fertilization; forest soils, greenhouse gases, nutrient cycling; soil productivity

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Organic matter inputs and decomposition represent important components in biogeochemistry through nutrient cycles in forest ecosystems, because significant amounts of organic matter and nutrients in the soils can be transferred during the decomposition processes. The organic matter inputs and decomposition processes depend on several ecological and management factors, such as the climate, forest type, site quality, stand age, stand density, fertilization, thinning, fire, and the incidence of insects and diseases. Nutrient dynamics by organic matter inputs and decomposition processes can be directly affected by environmental changes resulting from the ecological and management factors and indirectly by changes in microclimate and microbial activity. Therefore, an understanding of organic matter inputs and decomposition is critically important, because the changes in organic matter inputs and decomposition processes by ecological and management factors alter nutrient cycling processes and affect site productivity.

This Special Issue deals with these processes based on field experiments, modeling, and reviews, as well as new technology of nutrient cycling by organic matter inputs and decomposition processes in forest soils. Studies focused on the response to organic matter inputs and decomposition related to biotic and abiotic factors are welcome.

Prof. Dr. Choonsig Kim
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • Forest soils
  • Litterfall and litter decomposition
  • Nutrient cycling
  • Root production and decomposition
  • Site productivity
  • Soil carbon dynamics
  • Soil organic matter
  • Wood decomposition

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Carbon and Nutrient Inputs by Litterfall in Evergreen and Deciduous Forests in Korea
Forests 2020, 11(2), 143; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11020143 - 26 Jan 2020
Abstract
Knowledge about carbon and nutrient fluxes by litterfall is important for understanding nutrient cycling in geologically unique ecosystems. However, the determination of forest litterfall production patterns is difficult due to many biophysical factors influencing the process. In this study, we (1) quantified the [...] Read more.
Knowledge about carbon and nutrient fluxes by litterfall is important for understanding nutrient cycling in geologically unique ecosystems. However, the determination of forest litterfall production patterns is difficult due to many biophysical factors influencing the process. In this study, we (1) quantified the litterfall production and carbon and nutrient fluxes in warm-temperate evergreen forest stands in Jeju Gotjawal and (2) compared these values to those of a typical cool-temperate deciduous forest stand by forest types and climate differences. Litterfall from evergreen broadleaved forests at Cheongsu (CS) and Seonheul (SHb), a mixed forest at Seonheul (SHm) in Jeju Gotjawal, and a deciduous broadleaved forest at Chungnam National University Forest (CNU) was collected for a full two years using litter traps. Samples were sorted into leaves, twigs, barks, seeds, and unidentified materials, and then weighed and measured for C, N, P, K, Ca, and Mg fluxes by litterfall. Results showed that the mean annual litterfall (846.3 g m−2, average of CS, SHb, and SHm) at Jeju Gotjawal was similar to that of CNU (885.5 g m−2), but varied by site in Jeju Gotjawal: CS (933.1 g m−2) was significantly higher than the average of SHb and SHm (802.9 g m−2). Seasonal patterns of litterfall production differed by forest types; evergreen broadleaved forests showed a bimodal peak in fall and spring while deciduous broadleaved forests showed a unimodal peak in fall. Jeju Gotjawal had significantly higher total macronutrient concentrations and contents (except for K) than CNU and they also varied by site in Jeju Gotjawal: CS had higher N, P, Ca, and Mg contents than SHb and SHm. We conclude that litterfall production and nutrient fluxes differed by forest stand as influenced by forest types and climate. Further, our findings are important for understanding carbon and nutrient dynamics in the geologically unique ecosystem of Jeju Gotjawal and other areas with similar characteristics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Organic Matter Production and Decomposition in Forest Soils)
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Open AccessArticle
Effect of Organic Matter Released from Deadwood at Different Decomposition Stages on Physical Properties of Forest Soil
Forests 2020, 11(1), 24; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11010024 - 23 Dec 2019
Abstract
The wood of dead trees is an essential element of the forest ecosystem, as it affects the characteristics of forest soil properties. The present study aimed to determine the influence of dead alder and aspen wood in various stages of decomposition on the [...] Read more.
The wood of dead trees is an essential element of the forest ecosystem, as it affects the characteristics of forest soil properties. The present study aimed to determine the influence of dead alder and aspen wood in various stages of decomposition on the physical properties of forest soil. The study was carried out in the area of the Czarna Rózga reserve in central Poland. Alder and aspen logs in third, fourth, and fifth decay classes were selected for the study. Wood and soil samples under the direct influence of wood and soil samples without the influence of deadwood were collected for laboratory analyses. Physical properties of the soil samples, such as bulk density, moisture, porosity, field capacity, and air capacity were analyzed. Water repellency (WR) was also determined. Our study confirmed that decomposing wood influenced the physical properties of forest soil. Organic matter released from decomposing wood penetrates the soil and alters its physical properties. By releasing organic matter from deadwood, it is possible to stimulate the formation of soil aggregates, improve soil porosity, and significantly increase the number of micropores, which results in the retention of more water in the soil. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Organic Matter Production and Decomposition in Forest Soils)
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Open AccessArticle
The Soil Microbiome of the Laurel Forest in Garajonay National Park (La Gomera, Canary Islands): Comparing Unburned and Burned Habitats after a Wildfire
Forests 2019, 10(12), 1051; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10121051 - 20 Nov 2019
Abstract
The evergreen laurel forest is a relic of ancient subtropical/tropical forests, of which the best remnant in the Canary Islands is in Garajonay National Park, on La Gomera island. The soil microbiome associated with a mature undisturbed (unburned) laurel forest was characterized at [...] Read more.
The evergreen laurel forest is a relic of ancient subtropical/tropical forests, of which the best remnant in the Canary Islands is in Garajonay National Park, on La Gomera island. The soil microbiome associated with a mature undisturbed (unburned) laurel forest was characterized at two locations at different topographical positions on the mountain: The slope and the ridge crest. Given the unusual circumstance of an intense wildfire that severely affected part of this forest, the burned soils were also studied. The soil in undisturbed areas was relatively uniform. The bacterial community composition was dominated by bacteria from phyla Proteobacteria, Acidobacteria, and Actinobacteria. The wildfire changed the composition of the bacterial communities. The Acidobacteria, Actinobacteria, and Alphaproteobacteria (dominant class in unburned forests) significantly decreased in burned soils along with a parallel high increase in Betaproteobacteria, Bacteroidetes, and Firmicutes. We further showed the dramatic effect of a wildfire on the soil microbiome of the laurel forest, appearing as a loss of species richness and diversity, species dominance, and changes in the composition of the bacterial communities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Organic Matter Production and Decomposition in Forest Soils)
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Open AccessArticle
Effect of Soil Fauna on Home-Field Advantages of Litter Mass Loss and Nutrient Release in Different Temperate Broad-Leaved Forests
Forests 2019, 10(11), 1033; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10111033 - 15 Nov 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
The home-field advantage (HFA) of litter decomposition dynamics has been investigated intensively in different ecosystems with a wide variety of plant types. HFA mainly occurs due to the specialization of a soil organism. However, for the HFA, the linkages between litter mass loss, [...] Read more.
The home-field advantage (HFA) of litter decomposition dynamics has been investigated intensively in different ecosystems with a wide variety of plant types. HFA mainly occurs due to the specialization of a soil organism. However, for the HFA, the linkages between litter mass loss, nutrient release, and soil faunal community are not fully understood. Thus, in this study, we performed a reciprocal litter transplant experiment using coarse and fine mesh litterbags in a Quercus mongolica Fisch. ex Ledeb. forest dominated by Q. mongolica (QM) and Acer pseudosieboldianum (Pax) Komarov (AP) and miscellaneous wood forests dominated by Juglans mandshurica Maxim. (JM) and Ulmus laciniata (Trautv.) Mayr. (UL). Results showed that the A. pseudosieboldianum litter displayed a significantly higher total abundance of Oribatida, Tomoceridae, and Entomobryidae at home than away from home after 7 months. However, all litters showed no significant difference in the HFA between the coarse mesh and fine mesh sizes during the 12-month experiment. A. pseudosieboldianum and J. mandshurica litters showed a significantly higher positive HFA for the C release in the coarse mesh than in the fine mesh litterbags after 7 months. Q. mongolica and J. mandshurica litters showed a significantly higher positive HFA for N release in the coarse mesh than in the fine mesh litterbags after 7 months. The A. pseudosieboldianum litter showed a significantly higher positive HFA for N release in the coarse mesh than in the fine mesh litterbags after 12 months. Q. mongolica and A. pseudosieboldianum litters showed a significantly higher positive HFA for S release in the coarse mesh than in the fine mesh litterbags after 7 and 12 months, respectively. However, A. pseudosieboldianum and Q. mongolica litters showed a significantly higher negative HFA for S release in the coarse mesh than in the fine mesh litterbags after 7 and 12 months, respectively. Our results illustrated that soil faunal specialization was found in the A. pseudosieboldianum litter only at home after 7 months. Soil fauna had a weak effect on the HFA of the litter mass losses during the 12-month experiment. Soil fauna drove the positive HFA for the N release of both the high- and low-quality litters. Soil fauna have a positive and negative HFA for S release in the low-quality litter. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Organic Matter Production and Decomposition in Forest Soils)
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Open AccessArticle
Different Molecular Characterization of Soil Particulate Fractions under N Deposition in a Subtropical Forest
Forests 2019, 10(10), 914; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10100914 - 17 Oct 2019
Abstract
Key Findings: Combining physical fractionation and pyrolysis–gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (py-GC/MS) technique can help better understand the dynamics of soil organic matter (SOM). Background and Objectives: SOM plays a critical role in the global carbon (C) cycle. However, its complexity remains a challenge in [...] Read more.
Key Findings: Combining physical fractionation and pyrolysis–gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (py-GC/MS) technique can help better understand the dynamics of soil organic matter (SOM). Background and Objectives: SOM plays a critical role in the global carbon (C) cycle. However, its complexity remains a challenge in characterizing chemical molecular composition within SOM and under nitrogen (N) deposition. Materials and Methods: Three particulate organic matter (POM) fractions within SOM and under N treatments were studied from perspectives of distributions, C contents and chemical signatures in a subtropical forest. N addition experiment was conducted with two inorganic N forms (NH4Cl and NaNO3) applied at three rates of 0, 40, 120 kg N ha−1 yr−1. Three particle-size fractions (>250 μm, 53–250 μm and <53 μm) were separated by a wet-sieving method. Py-GC/MS technique was used to differentiate between chemical composition. Results: A progressive proportion transfer of mineral-associated organic matter (MAOM) to fine POM under N treatment was found. Only C content in fine POM was sensitive to N addition. Principal component analyses (PCA) showed that the coarse POM had the largest plant-derived markers (lignins, phenols, long-chain n-alkanes, and n-alkenes). Short-chain n-alkanes and n-alkenes, benzofurans, aromatics and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons mainly from black carbon prevailed in the fine POM. N compounds and polysaccharides from microbial products dominated in the MAOM. Factor analysis revealed that the degradation extent of three fractions was largely distinct. The difference in chemical structure among three particulate fractions within SOM was larger than treatments between control and N addition. In terms of N treatment impact, the MAOM fraction had fewer benzofurans compounds and was enriched in polysaccharides, indicating comparatively weaker mineralization and stronger stabilization of these substances. Conclusions: Our findings highlight the importance of chemical structure in SOM pools and help to understand the influence of N deposition on SOM transformation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Organic Matter Production and Decomposition in Forest Soils)
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Open AccessArticle
Carbon and Nitrogen Responses in Litterfall and Litter Decomposition in Red Pine (Pinus densiflora S. et Z.) Stands Disturbed by Pine Wilt Disease
Forests 2019, 10(3), 244; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10030244 - 09 Mar 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Research Highlight: Forest disturbance by insects or disease can have a significant influence on nutrient return by litterfall and decomposition, but information regarding disturbance gradients is scarce. This study demonstrated that the disturbance intensity caused by pine wilt disease greatly altered the [...] Read more.
Research Highlight: Forest disturbance by insects or disease can have a significant influence on nutrient return by litterfall and decomposition, but information regarding disturbance gradients is scarce. This study demonstrated that the disturbance intensity caused by pine wilt disease greatly altered the quality and quantity of carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) in litterfall components and decomposition processes. Background and Objectives: This study was conducted to evaluate the C and N status of litterfall and litter decomposition processes in a natural red pine (Pinus densiflora S. et Z.) stand disturbed by pine wilt disease in southern Korea. Nine red pine plots with varying degrees of disturbance caused by pine wilt disease were established based on differences in the stand basal area. Litterfall and the decomposition of needle litter and branches under different degrees of disturbance were measured for three years. Results: There was a significant correlation (p < 0.05) between disturbance intensity and the C and N concentration of litterfall components depending on the time of sampling. The annual C and N inputs through litterfall components decreased linearly with decreasing disturbance intensities. The decomposition rates of branches were higher in slightly disturbed plots compared with severely disturbed plots for the late stage of branch decomposition, whereas the decomposition rates of needle litter were not affected by the disturbance intensity of pine wilt disease. Carbon and N concentrations from needle litter and branches were not linearly related to the intensities of disturbance, except for the initial stage (one year) of needle litter decomposition. Conclusions: The results indicated that the incidence of pine wilt disease was a major cause of C and N loss through litterfall and decomposition processes in pine wilt disease disturbed stands, but the magnitude of loss depended on the severity of the disease disturbance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Organic Matter Production and Decomposition in Forest Soils)
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Open AccessArticle
Seasonal Variations and Thinning Effects on Soil Phosphorus Fractions in Larix principis-rupprechtii Mayr. Plantations
Forests 2019, 10(2), 172; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10020172 - 18 Feb 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Thinning is a common management practice in forest ecosystems. However, understanding whether thinning treatment will change the availability of phosphorus (P) in soils, and the effect of thinning on the seasonal dynamics of soil P fractions, are still limited. The objective of the [...] Read more.
Thinning is a common management practice in forest ecosystems. However, understanding whether thinning treatment will change the availability of phosphorus (P) in soils, and the effect of thinning on the seasonal dynamics of soil P fractions, are still limited. The objective of the present study was to assess seasonal variations in soil P fractions under different forest thinning management strategies in a Larch (Larix spp.) plantation in northern China. To accomplish this, we examined soil P fractions, soil physical–chemical properties, and litter biomass under control (CK), light (LT), moderate (MT) and high thinning (HT) treatments. Data were collected during the growing season of 2017. We found that most P fractions varied seasonally at different soil depths, with the highest values occurring in the summer and autumn. When compared to CK, MT enhanced the inorganic P (Pi) concentration extracted by resin strip (R-Pi). Labile organic P (Labile Po), moderately labile P and total P (TP) also increased in both MT and HT treatments irrespective of season. In contrast, less-labile Pi and Po fractions were lower in LT than in CK, especially when examining deeper soil layers. Our results suggest that LT leads to a strong ability to utilize Po and less-labile Pi. Moreover, the effect of thinning did not tend to increase with thinning intensity, P availability was maximized at the MT. Ultimately, we show that MT can improve soil P bioavailability and is recommended in Larix principis-rupprechtii Mayr. plantations of North China. Our results emphasize that the effect of thinning management on soil microenvironment is an important basis for evaluating soil nutrients such as soil P bioavailability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Organic Matter Production and Decomposition in Forest Soils)
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