TitleDecomposition rate and nutrient release from plant litter of Norway spruce forest in the Bohemian Forest
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2006
AuthorsSantruckova, H, Kristufkova, M, Vanek, D

The role of litter composition and quality on the nutrient release was studied in three month laboratory experiment. Spruce needles and leaves of four species dominant in understorey vegetation of the Norway spruce forest were collected in early autumn and incubated at 5 degrees C, 10 degrees C and 15 degrees C. C mineralization was measured every two weeks, concentration of NH4, NO3, dissolved organic N, dissolved organic C and oxalate extractable P at the beginning and end of incubation and decay rate and nutrient release was calculated. Freshly senescent leaves contained less N and P indicating nutrient reallocation. Effect of temperature on a decay rate and nutrient transformation was not significant while the effect of litter quality expressed by C/N ratio at the end of incubation was. The decay rate was the fastest for the fern (Athyrium alpestre) and decreased in order: Callamagrostis villosa > Vaccinium myrtillus > Avenella flexuosa > spruce needles. The critical C/N ratio bellow which mineral N was released in high amount was around a value of 32. The results indicte that an increase of coverage of understorey vegetation can increase a risk of nutrient release.