Dissolved Organic Carbon Dynamics and Controls of Planted Slash Pine Forest Soil in Subtropical Region in Southern China
2013, 4 (2):
Soil dissolved organic carbon (DOC) is an active fraction of the soil organic carbon (SOC) pool and links terrestrial and aquatic systems. The degradation of DOC can affect carbon cycling, nutrient dynamics and energy supply to microorganism, and consequently change biogeochemical processes. This study investigated the vertical and seasonal variability of soil DOC concentrations and its controls in a 23-year-old planted slash pine (Pinus elliottii) forest at Qianyanzhou Forest Experimental Station (QFES) in Southern China. Soil solutions were collected at bimonthly intervals at depths of 10, 20 and 30 cm by a mechanical-vacuum extractor from November 2007 to March 2009, and at monthly intervals at depths of 10, 30 and 50cm from April 2009 to October 2010. The DOC concentrations were determined with a total organic carbon (TOC) analyzer. Mean (±standard deviation) DOC concentrations at depths of 10cm, 20cm, 30cm and 50cm were 12.4±4.4, 10.6±6.3, 8.7±2.6, and 8.0±5.9 mg L-1, respectively. Both seasonal and spring means of DOC concentration showed a decreasing trend with increasing depth, while there was no clear trend for the summer, autumn, or winter seasons. DOC concentrations during spring, summer, autumn and winter ranged from 4.8 to 21.5, 4.9 to 26.2, 5.4 to 17.1, 4.9 to 14.6 mg L-1, respectively, their mean DOC concentrations were 10.2, 10.5, 10.8 and 8.3 mg L-1, respectively. No consistent pattern of seasonal variability of DOC concentrations at different depths was observed. No obvious relationship between organic carbon content of forest litter and DOC concentration was found. There was a positive linear relationship between SOC and DOC concentration (R2=0.19, p<0.01), which showed that SOC was one of the main controls of DOC. A positive exponential relationship existed between soil temperature at 5 cm and DOC concentrations at 10 cm depth in slash pine, masson pine (Pinus massoniana) and Chinese fir (Cunninghamia lanceolata) planted forests (R2=0.12, p<0.01). DOC concentrations showed a negative linear relationship with soil moisture at all depths in slash pine forest (R2=0.15, p<0.001), and DOC concentrations at depth of 10 cm demonstrated a negative exponential relationship with soil moisture at 5 cm depth in three planted forests (R2=0.13, p<0.001). Precipitation in sampling months and mean seasonal DOC concentration were not correlated. However, a more detailed analysis of precipitation events at different times before sampling and seasonal DOC concentration showed that the timing of precipitation events prior to sampling had different effects on seasonal DOC concentrations at different depths. Our study highlights the importance of DOC dynamics for the carbon cycle in planted slash pine forest and it provides evidence for evaluating the effects of ecological restoration in subtropical red soil region.
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