Differences in soil organic matter, extractable nutrients, and acidity in European beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) forest soils related to the presence of ground flora

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Differences in soil organic matter (SOM) content, soil acidity, and soil exchangeable nutrients (NH4-N, NO3-N, Ca, K, Na, Mg) related to the presence of ground flora were studied. The study was carried out for a growing season in two different Fagus sylvatica L. forests in southern Sweden, and the differences in soil characteristics below naturally occurring patches of Deschampsia flexuosa (L.) Trin. or Anemone nemorosa L. were compared with those with no ground flora. Patches of D. flexuosa led to higher soil pH, but lower SOM, water content, base saturation, and NH4-N concentration compared with adjacent zones without D. flexuosa. The lower SOM content suggested an increased rate of decomposition which caused soil pH to increase because of release of basic cations. In the presence of A. nemorosa, pH was higher and the exchangeable acidity lower than for patches without the herb. In early spring, when A. nemorosa emerged and flowered, the NH4-N concentration was somewhat lower in the presence of the herb than when it was absent. For the evergreen grass D. flexuosa NH4-N concentrations were lower in patches with the grass later in the summer season (July). This work indicates the presence of spatial and temporal differences in nutrient circulation and decomposition on the small ground flora scale, which should be considered when studying nutrient and carbon cycles of temperate forests.


  • Frida Andréasson
  • Anna-Maj Balsberg-Påhlsson
  • Bo Bergkvist
Enheter & grupper

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ) – OBLIGATORISK

  • Ekologi


Sidor (från-till)333-342
TidskriftJournal of Forest Research
StatusPublished - 2012
Peer review utfördJa