Nutrient Dynamics in Litterfall and Decomposing Leaf Litter at the Kwangneung Deciduous Broad-Leaved Natural Forest

광릉 천연활엽수림의 낙엽낙지와 낙엽분해에 따른 양분동태

  • Choonsig Kim (Department of Forest Resources, Jinju National University) ;
  • Jong-Hwan Lim (Department of Forest Environment, Korea Forest Research Institute) ;
  • Joon Hwan Shin (Department of Forest Environment, Korea Forest Research Institute)
  • Published : 2003.06.01

Abstract

Litterfall and litter decomposition represent a major contribution to the carbon and nutrient inputs in a forest ecosystem. We measured litterfall quantity and nutrient dynamics in decomposing litter for two years at the Kwangneung broadleaf natural forest (DK site) in Korea. Litterfall was collected in circular littertraps (collecting area : 0.25 $m^2$) and mass loss rates and nutrient release patterns in decomposing litter were estimated using the litterbag technique employing 30 cm ${\times}$ 30 cm nylon bags with 1.5 mm mesh size. Total annual litterfall was 5,627 kg/ha/yr and leaf litter accounted for 61 % of the litterfall. The leaf litter quantity was highest in Quercus serrata, fallowed by Carpinus laxiflora and C. cordata, etc., which are dominant tree species in the site. Mass loss from decomposing leaf litter was more rapid in C. laxiflora and C. cordata than in Q. serrata litter. About 77% of C. laxiflora and 84% of C. cordata litter disappeared, while about 48% in Q. serrata litter lost over two years. Lower mass loss rates of Q. serrata litter may be attributed to the difference of substrate quality such as lower nutrient concentrations compared with the other litter types. Nutrient concentrations (N, P, Mg) of three litter types except for potassium (K) increased compared with initial nutrient concentrations of litter over the study period. Compared with Q. serrata litter, nutrients (N, P, K, Ca, Mg) in C. laxiflora and C. cordata litter were released rapidly. The results suggest that litter mass loss and nutrient dynamic processes among tree species vary considerably in the same site conditions.

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