Is Tree Species Diversity or Species Identity the More Important Driver of Soil Carbon Stocks, C/N Ratio, and pH?

TitleIs Tree Species Diversity or Species Identity the More Important Driver of Soil Carbon Stocks, C/N Ratio, and pH?
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsD. Seid M, Raulund-Rasmussen K., Domisch T., Finér L., Jaroszewicz B., Vesterdal L.
Start Page1
Keywordsforest ecosystem function, Niche differentiation, soil C/N ratio, Soil carbon, Soil pH, Tree species diversity, tree species identity

We explored tree species diversity effects on soil C stock, C/N ratio, and pH as compared with effects of tree species identity. We sampled forest floors and mineral soil (0–40 cm) in a diversity gradient of 1–5 tree species composed of conifers and broadleaves in Białowieża Forest, Poland. Diversity was a weaker driver than identity of soil C stocks, C/N ratio, and pH in the soil profile. However, there were significant non-additive effects of diversity and significant effects of identity on C stock and C/N ratio within different parts of the soil profile. More diverse forests had higher C stocks and C/N ratios in the 20–40 cm layer, whereas identity in terms of conifer proportion increased C stocks and C/N ratios only in forest floors. A positive relationship between C stocks and root biomass in the 30–40 cm layer suggested that belowground niche complementarity could be a driving mechanism for higher root carbon input and in turn a deeper distribution of C in diverse forests. Diversity and identity affected soil pH in topsoil with positive and negative impacts, respectively. More diverse forests would lead to higher soil nutrient status as reflected by higher topsoil pH, but there was a slight negative effect on N status as indicated by higher C/N ratios in the deeper layers. We conclude that tree species diversity increases soil C stocks and nutrient status to some extent, but tree species identity is a stronger driver of the studied soil properties, particularly in the topsoil.

DOI10.1007/s10021-016-9958-1 ID

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