Skip to Main Content
Chemical, physical and biological factors affecting wood decomposition in forest soilsAuthor(s): Martin Jurgensen; Peter Laks; David Reed; Anne Collins; Deborah Page-Dumroese; Douglas Crawford
Source: IRG documents 2003; IRG 35; 6-10 June 2004; Ljubljana, Slovenia. Stockholm, Sweden: IRG Secretariat. 14 p.
Publication Series: Paper (invited, offered, keynote)
Station: Rocky Mountain Research Station
PDF: Download Publication (683.4 KB)
DescriptionOrganic matter (OM) decomposition is an important variable in forest productivity and determining the potential of forest soils to sequester atmospheric CO2 (Grigal and Vance 2000; Kimble et al. 2003). Studies using OM from a particular location gives site-specific decomposition information, but differences in OM type and quality make it difficult to compare results among soils and forest ecosystems. By using a “standard” OM in decomposition studies, OM quality is held constant, and decomposition is a function of soil abiotic (moisture, temperature, O2/CO2, redox potential, pH, N, P, etc), and biotic (microbial biomass, functional diversity) properties. Wood is a good material to use in soil OM decomposition studies, since it is a normal soil component (woody residue, coarse roots), and a slow decomposition rate allows wood to remain in the soil for a number of years. In 1998 a wood stake study was initiated in the U.S., Canada, and Europe to: (1) determine the effects of abiotic soil properties on wood decomposition, and (2) assess how these soil properties affect microbial activity and diversity during wood decomposition. These study sites represent a variety of climatic conditions and forest types, which are being extensively monitored for soil moisture, temperature, and CO2/O2 (Appendix A). Soil chemical and physical properties have also been characterized on each of these sites. Stakes of two tree species are used to contrast different lignin types present in wood: southern pine (Pinus spp.) and aspen (Populus tremuloides). Two test stakes are cut from each 2.5 x 2.5 cm x 70 cm Amother@ stake, and divided into tree ring and weight classes prior to field installation.
- You may send email to email@example.com to request a hard copy of this publication.
- (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)
- We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
- This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
CitationJurgensen, Martin; Laks, Peter; Reed, David; Collins, Anne; Page-Dumroese, Deborah; Crawford, Douglas. 2004. Chemical, physical and biological factors affecting wood decomposition in forest soils. IRG documents 2003; IRG 35; 6-10 June 2004; Ljubljana, Slovenia. Stockholm, Sweden: IRG Secretariat. 14 p.
KeywordsWood decomposition, forest soils, chemical factors, physical factors, biological factors, stake tests, soil properties
- Wildfire alters belowground and surface wood decomposition on two national forests in Montana, USA
- Initial turnover rates of two standard wood substrates following land-use change in subalpine ecosystems in the Swiss Alps
- Bedding of wetland soil: Effects of bed height and termite activity on wood decomposition
XML: View XML