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Forest Science and Technology
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Carbon and nitrogen inputs by litter fall in fertilized and unfertilized larch plantations
Choonsig Kim , Jaeyeob Jeong & Jin-Seoung Kim
a a a b

Department of Forest Resources, Gyeongnam National University of Science and Technology, Jinju, 660-758, Korea
b

Department of Landscape Architecture, Dongshin University, Naju, 520-714, Korea

Available online: 09 Mar 2011

To cite this article: Choonsig Kim, Jaeyeob Jeong & Jin-Seoung Kim (2011): Carbon and nitrogen inputs by litter fall in fertilized and unfertilized larch plantations, Forest Science and Technology, 7:1, 17-22 To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/21580103.2011.559932

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8 g kg71) plots.com . 17–22 Carbon and nitrogen inputs by litter fall in fertilized and unfertilized larch plantations Choonsig Kima*. stand age.ac. whereas annual nitrogen inputs were significantly higher in the fertilized (17. planted from 1957 to 1990 (Korea Forest Service 2006). the change of litter fall dynamics following fertilization has received considerable research attention with conflicting results. Larch (Larix leptolepis) plantations in an area of approximately 600. Gyeongsangnam-do.1080/21580103. 2008). There was no significant difference (P 4 0. Litter was collected monthly between April 2003 and May 2006.7 kg N ha71 yr71) than in the unfertilized (15. Kim et al. Korea (Received 11 October 2010. 2008) on litter fall dynamics in forest ecosystems. Gyeongsangnam-do. Smaill et al. 7.2011. Seasonal inputs of litter fall components such as needle. No.05). Dongshin University. Addition of fertilizer to increase forest productivity can affect the total amount of litter fall. Korea.kr ISSN 2158-0103 print/ISSN 2158-0715 online Ó 2011 Korean Forest Society DOI: 10. fertilization.24. such as tree species.2%) than in the unfertilized (70. but a minimal impact to carbon dynamics by litter fall in the larch plantation. Thus. 2008. Kavvadias et al. and is managed intensively throughout the country (Lee et al. 2008. while there was a significant fertilization effect on nitrogen concentrations with high nitrogen concentrations of needle litter in the fertilized (7. site quality. The results indicated that nitrogen dynamics by litter fall could be affected by fertilization. nitrogen concentration and content in litter fall tend to increase as a consequence of nitrogen fertilization (Smith et al. are the most common type of artificial forest in Korea. In addition. 2000. bDepartment of Landscape Architecture. the amount of litter fall depends on several ecological factors and forest management activities. This tree has been one of the major species planted for reforestation. Mean needle litter fall was similar between the fertilized (2564 kg ha71 yr71) and unfertilized plots (2501 kg ha71 yr71) and total annual litter fall averaged 3552 kg ha71 yr71 in the fertilized and 3541 kg ha71 yr71 in the unfertilized plots during the sampling period. *Corresponding author. nutrient cycling a Downloaded by [151. Jaeyeob Jeonga and Jin-Seoung Kimb Department of Forest Resources. few attempts to synthetically and quantitatively examine the importance and behavior of carbon and nitrogen dynamics by litter fall inputs after fertilization in larch plantations have been undertaken (Lee and Son 2006). Keywords: carbon cycling.18] at 04:07 16 April 2012 Introduction Carbon and nitrogen return via litter fall has been suggested as the primary mechanism by which fixed carbon and nitrogen are transferred to the soils (Berg and Laskowski 2006). Materials and methods The study was conducted in the Sambong Exhibition Forests located in Hamyang-gun.000 ha. litter fall inputs represent important components in the biogeochemistry through carbon and nutrient cycles in forest ecosystems because the turnover of litter is a major pathway by which carbon and nutrients enter forest soils (Bray and Gorham 1964. 1997. 2005. The objectives of this study were to determine the effects on the forest carbon and nitrogen dynamics by litter fall after fertilization in a larch plantation. carbon dynamics. Jinju 660-758. broad leaf. Email: ckim@jinju. Park et al. March 2011.6 kg N ha71 yr71) plots. and is likely to modify nutrient redistributions in soil layers because litter fall production increases resulting in increased accumulation of organic matter on the forest floor (O’Connell and Grove 1993. Naju 520-714. 2005. fertilization has been shown to increase (O’Connell and Grove 1993. For example. Korea. Smith et al. 2001. Carbon concentrations of needle litter were not significantly affected by fertilization (P 4 0. Kim et al. Jeong et al. However. bark and total litter inputs followed a similar pattern between fertilized and unfertilized plots. 2009).7 g kg71) compared with the unfertilized (6. Gyeongnam National University of Science and Technology. stand increment. Kim et al. Berg and Laskowski 2006). Gower and Son 1992.05) between fertilized and unfertilized plots. climate.informaworld.8%) plots. Pedersen and Bille-Hansen 1999.11. Larix leptolepis. 2000. 2004). Park et al. Park et al.Forest Science and Technology Vol. Lee and Son 2006). Although fertilizers have been used to increase annual tree growth (Joo et al. 1. Proportion of needle litter fall was slightly higher in the fertilized (72. Accepted 24 November 2010) This study was carried out to evaluate the effects of fertilization on carbon and nitrogen dynamics by litter fall of a 36-year-old larch (Larix leptolepis) plantation in the Sambong Exhibition Forests. fertilization and thinning (Binkley 1986. However. The annual amounts of the litter components were not significantly different (P 4 0.559932 http://www. branch. stand density.05) in the organic carbon inputs by needle litter between the fertilized and unfertilized plots. 2008) and exert no discernible effect (Lee and Son 2006. 1983) and/or to determine the nutrient dynamics of litter (Lee and Son 2006. Berg and Laskowski 2006).

etc. Litter fall inputs in both treatments followed similar seasonal patterns because litter fall inputs are affected by climate. Schizandra chinensis. 2005.15 (0. at rates of 112 kg N ha71 yr71. The experimental design consisted of a randomized complete block design with two blocks. were irregular in both treatments throughout the year (Figure 1).8) CEC 20. 690 m. The effect of fertilization treatment on the litter fall. acutissima. 2009).9 (0. SOC: soil organic carbon.25 m2. 2004) were calculated by multiplying needle litter fall weight by carbon and nitrogen concentrations. cones. and each portion was weighed. 75 kg P ha71 yr71 and 37 kg K ha71 yr71. respectively. branches and miscellaneous components. Stephanandra incisa. Carbon and nitrogen concentrations of needle litter were measured because needles are Downloaded by [151. 2008. Park et al. . bark. cones and other miscellaneous components for both treatment plots are shown in Figure 1. broad leaves. branches. 2009).9 cm) and unfertilized plots (24. Litter was collected at monthly intervals between April 2002 and May 2006. Miscellaneous litter. Chemical properties of soil before fertilizer treatments in the study site (n ¼ 8). generally accumulated at higher rates in summer than in other seasons and were little affected by fertilization.). such as needles. bark and cones. bark.12) Avail. Quercus serrata. Rubus parvifolius.31) 0. Fertilizers were manually applied to the forest floor surface during the spring for two years: 24 May 2002 and 16 May 2003.05) 2. 2008) rather than fertilization effects. The mean DBH between the fertilized (23. Broad leaf and pine needle litter showed also a similar peak in autumn. All dried samples were separated into needle.0 (0.5) TN (%) 0. Juglans mandshurica. Four fertilized and four unfertilized plots within each block were randomly assigned with a 5 m buffer zone between each plot.1) SOC (%) 7.18] at 04:07 16 April 2012 Table 1.72 (0. Q. P2O5 (mg kg71) 18. 1278370 E.9 (2. while both litter types were little affected by fertilization. Kim et al. reproductive organs. Seasonal patterns of production of woody litter. 630 m) on a moderately productive upland site (Site Index 15).52 (0. The litter from each trap was transported to a laboratory and then oven-dried at 658C for 48 hours. Italy). Styrax japonica. To measure the dynamics of litter fall.09) Naþ Ca2þ Mg2þ (cmolc kg71) 0. TN: Total nitrogen. Jeong et al. 358270 N. P and K.5 (2. such as branches. fused superphosphate and potassium chloride fertilizers were used as sources of N. carbon and nitrogen inputs following fertilization. Each block was divided into eight 20 m 6 10 m plots. pine needles.1 cm) was similar. Experimental plots were located in two adjacent 36-year-old Larix leptolepis plantations (358260 N. Kim et al.88C. insect infestations (Pedersen and Bille-Hansen 1999).24. Zanthoxylum schinifolium.9) 0. bark and branch fragments that could not be classified. Staphylea bumalda. schinifolium. The soil texture was silt loam. The dominant understory tree species were Viburnum dilatatum. the most important nutrient sink and sensitive to nutrient availability (Lee and Son 2006).425 mm) stainless steel sieve. The annual average precipitation and temperature in this area are 1322 mm yr71 and 12. with the chemical properties before the application of fertilizer treatments given in Table 1. site and stand age. The mean tree densities of the plantations were slightly lower for the fertilized (456 trees ha71) than for the unfertilized (487 trees ha71) plots.45 (0.03 (0. These amounts of fertilizers were those generally recommended for a growth increment of mature coniferous forests in Korea (Joo et al. carbon and nitrogen dynamics was analyzed using the general linear model procedure of SAS (SAS Institute 2003).15) Numbers in parentheses are standard errors. Z. Cornus controversa and Rhus sylvetris. 1983). respectively. the heaviest litter fall season in deciduous and coniferous tree species in temperate forests (Park et al. Urea. were installed 60 cm above the forest floor at each plot (total 48 litter traps).11. Total carbon and nitrogen inputs by needle litter fall for two years (2003. CEC: cation exchange capacity. Carbon and nitrogen concentrations from the ground materials were determined on an elemental analyzer (CE Instruments EA1110 Elemental Analyzer. These large fluctuations in woody litter production could be due to environmental factors such as storms and strong winds which may also have pronounced effects on woody litter fall (Christensen 1975. three circular litter traps with a surface area of 0. Many studies have reported a similar pattern for coniferous tree species because needles in temperate forests experience natural senescence in autumn (Bray and Gorham 1964. Needle litter fall inputs were not affected by fertilization and both treatments showed similar maximum values in autumn (Sep. Korea.–Dec. Results and discussion Litter fall inputs in fertilized and unfertilized plots The seasonal litter fall inputs of needles. Lindera erythrocarpa. weather patterns (Gresham 1982). The needle litter samples collected for a heavy litter fall season (November) were ground in a Wiley mill to pass through a 40 mesh (0. 1278380 E. Jeong et al. Exchangeable Kþ pH (1:5 H2O) 4. ThermoQuest Italia SPA.18 C.

This result indicates that needle litter fall inputs in this larch plantation could be affected by similar basal area or stand density in both treatment plots rather than the fertilization effects. 2008). the similar amount of needle litter inputs produced in both treatments could be attributed to canopy closure in these mature plantations. Similarly. Seasonal litter fall inputs between fertilized and unfertilized plots in L. but are lower than the global mean value (about 5500 kg ha71 yr71) of coniferous forests for warm-temperate forests (Bray and Gorham 1964). Gessel and Turner 1976. The annual inputs of woody litter fall were similar between both treatments because the woody litter inputs could be affected by environmental factors such as storms or strong winds rather than the difference of nutrient availability in stands (Christensen 1975). Annual average total litter fall inputs for three years were not significantly different (P 4 0. The values of total litter fall in these plots fall within the range established for other larch plantations in Korea (Kim et al. Total annual litter fall averaged 3552 kg ha71 yr71 in the fertilized and 3541 kg ha71 yr71 in the unfertilized plots during the sampling period. 2005). In addition. mean needle litter fall inputs were similar between the fertilized (2564 kg ha71 yr71) and unfertilized plots (2501 kg ha71 yr71) during the three-year study (2003–2005) period (Figure 2).2% of total litter fall in the fertilized and 70. However. The order for litter fall component inputs was: needles 4 branches 4 broad leaves 4 miscellaneous 4 bark 4 pine needles 4 cones in both treatment plots (Figure 2). This . the fertilized plots would be expected to have greater needle litter fall mass compared with the unfertilized plots. Lee and Son (2006) reported that there was no significant difference in the litter fall production in a 41-year-old larch plantation over two years after the application of fertilizer (200 kg N ha71 with 25 kg P ha71) between control (4551 kg ha71 yr71) and fertilizer treated (4991 kg ha71 yr71) plots. Vertical bars indicate one standard error (n ¼ 24). Park et al. branches. bark.05) between the fertilized and unfertilized plots (Figure 2).05) between the fertilized and unfertilized plots.6% in the unfertilized plots. Needle litter fall was the major component of total litter fall in both treatments.Forest Science and Technology 19 Downloaded by [151. leptolepis plantations.11. accounting for about 72. (2009) reported somewhat higher values (3953 kg ha71 yr71) for total litter fall for 46year-old larch plantations in the same location.24. miscellaneous litter and total litter fall were not significantly different (P 4 0. Jeong et al. The annual amounts of needles.18] at 04:07 16 April 2012 Figure 1. Because nutrient availability is generally considered the major environmental factor limiting growth in many temperate forest ecosystems (Binkley 1986). as annual needle litter fall remains relatively constant after canopy closure (Bray and Gorham 1964.

Nitrogen concentration in needle litter was significantly (P 5 0. 2009) because the variation of carbon concentration in tree species is determined by genetic and environmental factors (Bert and Danjon 2006. carbon concentration of tree components was a poor indicator of fertilizer response (Kim et al. Another study reported a similar carbon concentration between fertilized (539 g kg71) and unfertilized (538 g kg71) plots in Pinus radiata plantations (Smaill et al.05 (n ¼ 24). nitrogen concentration of needle litter in Pinus radiata plantations was significantly higher in fertilized (8. Zhang et al.18] at 04:07 16 April 2012 Figure 2. Mean carbon concentration in needle litter was similar between the fertilized (478 g kg71) and unfertilized (476 g kg71) plots. Amounts of litter fall components between fertilized and unfertilized plots in L. In addition.8 g kg71) plots could be due to the increased nitrogen uptake after fertilization (Berg and Laskowski 2006). while there was a significant effect of fertilization on nitrogen concentrations of needle litter in 2003.4 g kg71) than in unfertilized (7. 2009). nitrogen concentration of needle litter sampled in 2004 was not significantly different between both treatment plots (Figure 3).9 g kg71) plantations because tree species on high nitrogen availability tend to produce leaf litter with high nitrogen concentrations (O’Connell and Grove 1993). Similarly. However. Vertical bars indicate one standard error.11. 2004).24. .05) higher in the fertilized than in the unfertilized plots during the second year (2003) of fertilization. Same letters on each litter fall component indicate no significant difference at P ¼ 0. Carbon and nitrogen inputs by needle litter fall in fertilized and unfertilized plots Carbon concentrations of needle litter were not significantly affected by fertilization (P 4 0.20 C.05). Greater nitrogen concentrations of needle litter in the fertilized (7. Downloaded by [151. Kim et al. suggests that carbon allocation after fertilization may change from carbon sink tissue such as stem or roots to carbon source tissue such as foliage (Gough et al. 2008). leptolepis plantations.7 g kg71) compared with the unfertilized (6.

Litter production in forests of the world. Turner J. Gessel SP.24. 2006. In contrast to organic carbon inputs. Conclusion A seasonal pattern and annual amounts of litter fall components in a larch plantation were not affected by fertilization. which might not be limiting in this plantation (Lee and Son 2006). Nitrogen inputs were 13. Differences in soil and leaf litterfall nitrogen dynamics for five forest plantations. Binkley D. Short-term effects of fertilization on loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L. the similar productions of litter fall inputs between the fertilized and unfertilized plots could have been due to short-term fertilization trials or soil nutrients. The results indicated that fertilization could have a minimal impact on the carbon cycle. 1992. Vertical bars indicate one standard error. Oikos 26:187–195. 2:101–157. 1964. Bert D. Seiler JR. For Ecol Manage. 32(2):97–102. 222:279–295. Son Y. For Sci. 28:223–231.) physiology. nitrogen concentration and inputs by needle litter was significantly affected by fertilization. Litter decomposition. 1976. This result could be attributed to no application of fertilizer in the year (2004). A comparison of litterfall dynamics in three coniferous plantations of identical age under similar site conditions.6 kg N ha71 yr71) plots. while the nitrogen cycle could differ considerably between fertilized and unfertilized plots in this larch plantation. 2004. Kim C. a guide to carbon and nutrient turnover. New York (NY): John Wiley & Sons.05 (n ¼ 24). stem and crown of mature Pinus pinaster (Ait. Although the carbon inputs were expected to increase due to needle litter fall in response to fertilization. Gorham E. 2009.18] at 04:07 16 April 2012 Figure 3. 1982. Gower ST. 1986. 38:20–71.05) in the organic carbon inputs on the soil due to needle litter fall over the two year period between the fertilized and unfertilized plots (Figure 3). and the decomposition cycle in a Danish oak forest. References Berg B. An H-C. However. 27:876–886. J Ecol Field Biol. Christensen O. Maier CA. annual mean nitrogen inputs by needle litter were significantly higher in fertilized (17. 2006. environmental factors.7 kg N ha71 yr71) than in unfertilized (15. The mean organic carbon inputs were 1148 kg C ha71 yr71 for the fertilized and 1085 kg C ha71 yr71 for the unfertilized plots over the study period.5% greater on fertilized compared with unfertilized plots. Acknowledgments This work was supported by Gyeongnam National University of Science and Technology Grant (2010) and partially by the Korea Research Foundation Grant funded by the Korean Government (KRF-No. Carbon and nitrogen concentration and inputs between fertilized and unfertilized plots in L. J 56:1959–1966. .11. Gough CM. Wood litter fall in relation to abscissions. Adv Ecol Res. Cho H-S. Forestry 49:63–72. Also. R05-2002-000-00869-0). Bray JR. Gresham CA. Laskowski R.). Same letters on each litter fall component indicate no significant difference at P ¼ 0. the organic carbon concentration and inputs by needle litter fall were not related to the application of fertilizer over the study period. Danjon D.Forest Science and Technology 21 Downloaded by [151. Litter production in western Washington Douglas-fir stands. Jeong J. leptolepis plantations. Litterfall patterns in mature loblolly and longleaf pine stands in coastal South Carolina. Choo G-C. There was no significant difference (P 4 0. Carbon concentration variations in the roots. 1975. Soil Sci Soc Am. Adv Ecol Res. Plant Cell Envir. Forest nutrition management. Increase of nitrogen inputs in fertilized plots was closely related to change of nitrogen concentration of needle litter following fertilization rather than needle litter fall mass (Figure 3).

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