Dynamics of Organic Matter in Leaf Litter and Topsoil within an Italian Alder (Alnus cordata (Loisel.) Desf.) Ecosystem | Land Portal

Resource information

Date of publication: 
January 2017
Resource Language: 
ISBN / Resource ID: 
LP-midp003351
Copyright details: 
© 2017 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article

Forests are the most important land ecosystems that can mitigate the earth’s ongoing climate change through their ability to sequester CO2 as C stock in forest biomass and soil. Short-rotation deciduous hardwoods or N2-fixing species are ideal candidates for afforestation and reforestation, given that most of the carbon accumulates in the first 30 years. Alders match both of the above-mentioned features, and Italian alder, which is less dependent on riparian habitats and more drought tolerant, is an ideal candidate. Despite this, few studies exist of this tree species and its effect on soil organic matter. In this study, we focused on litter input and leaf litter decomposition dynamics, forest floor leaf litter and topsoil (0–5 cm) organic matter, and patterns of covariation from litter to topsoil. The leaf litter was rich in nitrogen and decomposed quickly (k = 0.002 day−1). There was a large organic carbon stock, which varied in the leaf litter (from 1.7 ± 0.3 Mg/ha in January to 0.4 ± 0.1 Mg/ha in July) and was stable in the topsoil (on average 28.6 ± 1.5 Mg/ha). Stocks for total nitrogen, cellulose, lignin, water and ethanol extractables, and total phenols were also evaluated. In order to investigate patterns of covariation in these stocks from litter to soil, we used two-block partial least squares. The first axis showed that from January to July there was a reduction of total nitrogen, lignin and cellulose in the forest floor leaf litter, while in the topsoil there was a decrease in water extractables and total organic carbon. The second axis showed minor phenomena involving phenols, water and ethanol extractables, and total N. The fast turnover of dissolved organic matter fractions (water and ethanol extractables), linked with cellulose and lignin dynamics, might suggest that within the Italian alder ecosystem there is a reasonably fast formation of stable C compounds in the soil. Thus, Italian alder is an ideal species for afforestation and reforestation, which could be particularly interesting for land-use policies.

Authors and Publishers

Author(s), editor(s), contributor(s): 

Innangi, MicheleDanise, TizianaD’Alessandro, FrancescoCurcio, ElenaFioretto, Antonietta

Corporate Author(s): 

Forests (ISSN 1999-4907) is an international and cross-disciplinary scholarly journal of forestry and forest ecology. It publishes research papers, short communications and review papers. There is no restriction on the length of the papers. Our aim is to encourage scientists to publish their experimental and theoretical research in as much detail as possible. Full experimental and/or methodical details must be provided for research articles.

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Publisher(s): 

MDPI AG, a publisher of open-access scientific journals, was spun off from the Molecular Diversity Preservation International organization. It was formally registered by Shu-Kun Lin and Dietrich Rordorf in May 2010 in Basel, Switzerland, and maintains editorial offices in China, Spain and Serbia. MDPI relies primarily on article processing charges to cover the costs of editorial quality control and production of articles. Over 280 universities and institutes have joined the MDPI Institutional Open Access Program; authors from these organizations pay reduced article processing charges.

Data provider

MDPI AG, a publisher of open-access scientific journals, was spun off from the Molecular Diversity Preservation International organization. It was formally registered by Shu-Kun Lin and Dietrich Rordorf in May 2010 in Basel, Switzerland, and maintains editorial offices in China, Spain and Serbia. MDPI relies primarily on article processing charges to cover the costs of editorial quality control and production of articles. Over 280 universities and institutes have joined the MDPI Institutional Open Access Program; authors from these organizations pay reduced article processing charges.

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