Current issue: 57(2)
Under compilation: 57(3)
The article is a literature review focusing on the reaction of soil respiration, litter decomposition and microflora of forest soils to various pollutants like acidic deposition, heavy metals and unusual high amounts of basic cations. There is a great deal of evidence indicating that environmental pollution affects soil microbial activity and community structure. Much of the data originates from experimental designs where high levels of pollutants were applied to the soil under field or laboratory conditions. Furthermore, many were short-term experiments designed to look for large effects. These experiments have an indicative value, but it has to be kept in mind that environmental pollution is a combination of many pollutants, mostly at low concentrations, acting over long periods of time. There is therefore consequently a demand for research performed in natural forest environments polluted with anthropogenic compounds.
A monitoring program is planned for the terrestrial environment around industries in Sweden, which emit acid compounds and heavy metals. Directions for the County Government Boards are being prepared. The paper deals with the present pollution situation in Sweden, based on recent scientific results, the justifications for local monitoring, and the organizing of the monitoring including the parameters suggested.
Four examples from a case study at an oil power station illustrate reporting of the data and the difficulties in interpreting the results. The examples are the distribution of a lichen indicator, heavy metal content and phosphatase activity in the moor layer, soil respiration and tree growth.
Soil respiration readings are reported for three ameliorated peatland sites of different types, covering a period of four years, during which the sites were drained and treated with various fertilizers. Respiration is shown to increase exponentially with temperature, varying mostly in the range 100–500 mg CO2 m-2 h-1. The changes in soil respiration followed those in surface temperature with a time-lag of approximately 3–3.5 hours. At one site, where the groundwater table dropped by about 0.5 m after ditching, soil respiration increased 2.5-fold within a few weeks, whereas at the other two sites both the fall in the groundwater table and the resultant changes in soil respiration were small.
The fertilizers tested were slow-dissolving PK, fast-dissolving PK, wood ash, slow-dissolving PK + urea, slow-dissolving PK + Nitroform (urea formaldehyde) and slow-dissolving PK + urea + a micro-element mixture. Application of fast-dissolving PK + urea led to a rapid increase in soil respiration at the site poorest in nutrients, and slow-dissolving PK to a slow increase in respiration. The greatest, steady increase of all was achieved by treatment with ash. At the sites with a higher natural nutrient content the application of fertilizers usually led to a decline in soil respiration lasting 1–2 years, after which the initial level was normally regained. Treatment with micro-elements caused an initial fall in soil respiration values in all three biotopes, followed by a pronounced increase.
The PDF includes a summary in Finnish.
In this study we determined the effect of transformation of a mature sessile oak forest stand into a coppiced forest, and of thinning and throughfall reduction in a coppice stand on soil water content (SWC) and soil CO2 efflux. The precipitation reduction was induced by installing parallel drainage channels in both unthinned and thinned coppice stands. The driving factor for temporal dynamics of soil CO2 efflux in all plots was soil temperature. The other factor was soil water content but only up to about 15%. Above this threshold, there was no more effect on CO2 efflux. We found no clear difference in SWC or soil CO2 efflux between the mature and coppiced stand eight years after harvesting. On the other hand, thinning of the coppice stand resulted in increase in SWC up to 22% in proportion, which we assume to be a result of increased gap fraction of the canopy. However, no effect on soil CO2 efflux was observed two years after the thinning. Installation of the drainage channels in two plots covering 30% of the ground area resulted in decrease in SWC up to a proportional 30.5% and thus contributed up to 50.7% reduction in soil CO2 efflux.
Boreal forest soil contains significant amounts of organic carbon. Soil disturbance, caused for example by site preparation or stump extraction, may increase decomposition and thus lead to higher CO2 emissions, contributing to global warming. The aim of this study was to quantify responses of soil-surface CO2 fluxes (Rs) and litter (needle and root) decomposition rates following various kinds of soil disturbance commonly caused by mechanical site preparation and stump harvest. For this purpose four treatments were applied in a clear-cut site in central Sweden: i) removal of the humus layer and top 2 cm of mineral soil, ii) placement of a humus layer and 2 cm of mineral soil upside down on top of undisturbed soil, forming a double humus layer buried under mineral soil, iii) heavy mixing of the humus layer and mineral soil, and iv) no disturbance (control). Rs measurements were acquired with a portable respiration system during two growing seasons. To assess the treatments’ effects on litter decomposition rates, needles or coarse roots (Ø = 6 mm) were incubated in litterbags at positions they would be located after the treatments (buried, or on top of the soil). The results indicate that site preparation-simulating treatments have no effect or may significantly reduce, rather than increase, CO2 emissions during the following two years. They also show that buried litter decomposes more rapidly than litter on the surface, but in other respects the treatments have little effect on litter decomposition rates.