Variability of Organic Matter Inputs Affects Soil Moisture and Soil Biological Parameters in a European Detritus Manipulation Experiment

István Fekete, Zsolt Kotroczó, Csaba Varga, Rita Hargitai, Kimberly Townsend, Gabor Csanyi, Gábor Várbiró

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

19 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Over the last three decades, increased temperatures and reduced annual precipitation have resulted in significant changes in several Central European deciduous forests. These effects include changes in soil moisture content and detritus production. Within the framework of a detritus manipulation experiment carried out in an old-growth Quercetum petraea-cerris community, we examined how changes in detritus inputs affect soil moisture content and microbial activity within six treatments. CO 2 release and microbial enzyme activities are known to be highly sensitive to environmental factors such as soil moisture and detritus inputs. We applied three detritus removal (No Litter, No Roots and No Input) and two detritus addition (Double Litter and Double Wood) treatments. Although the plots received the same amount of precipitation, the various detritus inputs caused significant differences in soil moisture. Treatments excluding living roots had the highest moisture levels, while the treatment excluding only aboveground detritus inputs had the lowest. CO 2 release, arylsulphatase activity and saccharase activity showed significant seasonal differences with the highest values occurring in spring. Moisture content had a significant positive correlation with CO 2 release, and enzyme activities of the plots were affected by the quantity and quality of detritus inputs. Arylsulphatase activity showed the strongest correlation with soil moisture content (R = 0. 62 in the control plot) followed by CO 2 release (R = 0. 61) and finally saccharase activity (R = 0. 42). We observed that there was a remarkably weaker correlation between soil moisture content and the three parameters in the detritus removal treatments (R values between 0. 56 and 0. 13) than in the Control and detritus addition treatments (R values between 0. 72 and 0. 42). The correlation between the three parameters of interest and soil moisture content weakens considerably under drought conditions relative to the optimal moisture range of soil moisture content for microbial activity. If the amount of precipitation in the area continues to decrease as anticipated, then litter production and soil microbial activity may be reduced.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)792-803
Number of pages12
JournalEcosystems
Volume15
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 11 2012

Fingerprint

Soil moisture
Biological materials
detritus
soil water content
soil organic matter
Moisture
soil moisture
soil water
Soils
organic matter
moisture content
microbial activity
Carbon Monoxide
soil
arylsulfatase
experiment
Experiments
beta-fructofuranosidase
Arylsulfatases
beta-Fructofuranosidase

Keywords

  • CO release
  • DIRT
  • climate change
  • detritus manipulation
  • enzyme activity
  • oak forest
  • soil moisture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Ecology

Cite this

Variability of Organic Matter Inputs Affects Soil Moisture and Soil Biological Parameters in a European Detritus Manipulation Experiment. / Fekete, István; Kotroczó, Zsolt; Varga, Csaba; Hargitai, Rita; Townsend, Kimberly; Csanyi, Gabor; Várbiró, Gábor.

In: Ecosystems, Vol. 15, No. 5, 11.05.2012, p. 792-803.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Fekete, István ; Kotroczó, Zsolt ; Varga, Csaba ; Hargitai, Rita ; Townsend, Kimberly ; Csanyi, Gabor ; Várbiró, Gábor. / Variability of Organic Matter Inputs Affects Soil Moisture and Soil Biological Parameters in a European Detritus Manipulation Experiment. In: Ecosystems. 2012 ; Vol. 15, No. 5. pp. 792-803.
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