Aboveground soil C inputs in the ecotone between Scots pine

E. Diaz-Pines, A. Rubio, F. Montes


Aboveground litterfall from Pyrenean oak (Quercus pyrenaica Willd. a semi-deciduous species), mixed Pyrenean oak-pine and pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) forest stands was surveyed in two sites in a Mediterranean mountain area during a period of 36 and 29 months, respectively. Separation in different litterfall fractions was performed, and C content of each fraction was measured to calculate the C flux to the soil due to litterfall. Our results showed that litterfall input was higher in pine stands than in Pyrenean oak stands (1.8-2.4 Mg C ha–1 year–1 at pine plots and 0.9-1.4 Mg C ha–1 year–1 at oak plots) and mixed plots showed intermediate values. Needles or leaves contributed about 50% to total litterfall, underpinning the importance of the rest of materials in the soil C input. The seasonal pattern showed a maximum in Pyrenean oak stands in autumn-early winter, while the pine stands had the maximum in summer, which is in consonance with the physiology of fall of broadleaves and coniferous trees in these latitudes , but clearly differs from needle-shed in Central and Northern Europe. A dry-spring year corresponded to a lower leaf fall during the following autumn, and leaf abscission came some weeks earlier than a year with a rainy spring.


litterfall; Pinus sylvestris; Quercus pyrenaica; ecotone; Mediterranean mountain.

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