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Soil Science Society of America Journal Abstract -

Effects of Litter Alteration on Carbon Dioxide Evolution from a South Carolina Pine Forest Floor1


This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 45 No. 3, p. 620-623
    Received: Apr 1, 1980
    Accepted: Dec 16, 1980

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  1. J. J. Reinke,
  2. D. C. Adriano and
  3. K. W. McLeod2



A field study in the upper Coastal Plain of South Carolina was conducted to evaluate the impacts of several litter manipulations on carbon dioxide evolution from a longleaf pine (Pinus palustris Mill.) forest floor. These manipulations, which included prescribed burning, removal of the L-layer material (red straw), and total litter (O1 and O2 horizons) removal, were compared with undisturbed control treatment using a static alkali absorption technique for CO2 measurement.

Though slight reductions were noted, the burning and removal of the L-layer material had less effect on the evolution of CO2 from the forest floor than total litter removal. Total litter removal, however, significantly reduced the average rate of CO2 evolution by approximately 22% (p ≤ 0.05). The amount of CO2 evolved was sensitive to rainfall and air temperature, showing declines in periods of drought and cool temperature. However, on an annual basis, the air temperature was much more important than rainfall in estimating the CO2 evolution. The burning treatment increased the pH and nitrogen concentrations of the litter and the soil pH at the 0 to 5-cm depth. The calculated net annual respiration (CO2-C production), exclusive of root metabolism, was approximately equivalent to 95% of the C input from litterfall deposited on the ground during this period, indicating that perhaps the accumulation of litter has reached a steady state condition.

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