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Interactions between deadwood and soil characteristics in a natural boreal trembling aspen - jack pine stand

Brais, S. and P. Drouin. 2012. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 42:1456-1466

Abstract

Decaying wood contribution to the heterogeneity of forest soils could depend on tree species and wood decay stage. The study was conducted in an 85-year-old trembling aspen (Populus remuloides Michx.) - jack pine (Pinus banksiana Lamb.) forest in northwestern Quebec, Canada. Trees, snags, logs, and forest floor originating from wood buried within the forest floor (lignic FF) and from fine litter (alignic FF) were inventoried in fifteen 400 m2 plots (nine jack pine and six trembling aspen). Chemical properties of alignic and lignic FF and logs were measured and relative nutrient availability in the mineral soil assessed under logs and under lignic and alignic FF using PRS probes. No significant differences between forest covers were found for the proportion of C and nutrients contained in deadwood (snags, logs, and lignic FF) relative to tree biomass plus necromass (deadwood plus alignic FF) content. Lignic FF was characterized by a higher C/N ratio and exchangeable acidity than alignic FF and its nutrient concentrations were between those of alignic FF and logs. Differences in wood characteristics may explain some of the differences in forest floor properties observed between trembling aspen and jack pine. Nutrient availability in the mineral soil was affected by the overlaying materials and could reflect differences in the dynamics of individual nutrients.