Current issue: 54(2)
The aim of this project was to investigate the cellulose decomposition rate in the soil on the ecological conditions created by different tree species, particularly birch (Betula sp.) and Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) H. Karst.). Therefore, comparable sample plots were established in adjoining birch and spruce stands. Data on the stands, the vegetation, and the soil in the sample plots were collected. The experiment was carried out in the Ruotsinkylä Experimental Forest near Helsinki in Southern Finland.
Five pieces (3x5x0.15 cm) of cellulose (bleached sulphite pulp) were dried, weighed, and fastened in a row into a nylon bag. The bags were placed into the soil at a slant so that the upmost piece of cellulose was in the depth of 0–1.5 cm and the bottom one 6–7.5 cm. The weight losses of the pieces were measured after periods ranging from 6 to 12 months.
The results show that even within the same forest type, decomposition is much more rapid in birch stands than in spruce stands. In all the stands the decomposition rate decreased rapidly with increasing depth. The difference between birch and spruce stand, as well as the decrease with increasing depth, was probably mainly due to different thermal conditions.
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