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Biogeosciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 12 Nov 2018

Research article | 12 Nov 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Biogeosciences (BG).

Dissolved organic matter characteristics of deciduous and coniferous forests with variable management: different at the source, aligned in the soil

Lisa Thieme1,5, Daniel Graeber2, Diana Hofmann3, Sebastian Bischoff4, Martin T. Schwarza, Bernhard Steffen3, Ulf-Niklas Meyer4,b, Martin Kaupenjohann5, Wolfgang Wilcke6, Beate Michalzik4, and Jan Siemens1 Lisa Thieme et al.
  • 1Institute of Soil Science and Soil Conservation, iFZ Research Centre for Biosystems, Land Use and Nutrition, Justus Liebig University Giessen, Heinrich-Buff-Ring 26-32, 35392 Giessen, Germany
  • 2Department of Aquatic Ecosystem Analysis, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ, Magdeburg, Brückstraße 3a, 39114 Magdeburg, Germany
  • 3Institute of Bio- and Geosciences, Agrosphere (IBG-3), Forschungszentrum Jülich, Wilhelm-Johnen-Straße, 52428 Jülich, Germany
  • 4Institute of Geography, Department of Soil Science, Friedrich Schiller Universität Jena, Löbdergraben 32, 07743 Jena, Germany
  • 5Department of Ecology, Chair of Soil Science, Technische Universität Berlin, Ernst-Reuter-Platz 1, 10587 Berlin, Germany
  • 6Institute of Geography and Geoecology, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Reinhard-Baumeister-Platz 1, 76131 Karlsruhe, Germany
  • acurrent address: Office of Landscape, Agriculture and Environment, Building Department, Canton of Zurich, Walcheplatz 2, 8090 Zurich, Switzerland
  • bcurrent address: Institute of Landscape Ecology, University of Münster, Heisenbergstrasse 2, 48141 Münster, Germany

Abstract. Dissolved organic matter (DOM) is part of the biogeochemical cycles of carbon and nutrients, carries pollutants and drives soil formation. The DOM concentration and properties along the water flow path through forest ecosystems depend on its origin and transformation processes. To improve our understanding of the effects of forest management, especially tree species selection and management intensity, on DOM concentrations and properties of samples from different ecosystem fluxes, we studied throughfall, stemflow, litter leachate and mineral soil solution at 26 forest sites in the three regions of the German Biodiversity Exploratories. We covered forest stands with three management categories (coniferous and deciduous age-class, unmanaged beech forests). In water samples from these forests, we monitored DOC concentrations over four years and characterized the quality of DOM with UV-vis absorption, fluorescence spectroscopy combined with parallel factor analysis (PARAFAC) and with Fourier-Transform Ion Cyclotron Resonance Mass Spectrometry (FT-ICR-MS). Additionally, we performed incubation-based biodegradation assays. Multivariate statistics revealed strong significant effects of origin of ecosystem fluxes and smaller effects of main tree species on DOM quality. Coniferous forests differed from deciduous forests by showing larger DOC concentrations, more lignin- and protein-like molecules, and less tannin-like molecules in throughfall, stemflow, and litter leachate. Cluster analysis of FT-ICR-MS data indicated that DOM compositions, which varied in aboveground samples depending on tree species, become aligned in mineral soil. This alignment of DOM composition along the water flow path in mineral soil is likely caused by microbial production and consumption of DOM in combination with its interaction with the solid phase, producing a characteristic pattern of organic compounds in forest mineral soils. We found similarly pronounced effects of ecosystem fluxes on the biodegradability of DOM, but surprisingly no differences between deciduous and coniferous forests. Forest management intensity, mainly determined by biomass extraction, contribution of species, which are not site-adapted, and deadwood mass, did not influence DOC concentrations, DOM composition and properties.

Lisa Thieme et al.
Interactive discussion
Status: final response (author comments only)
Status: final response (author comments only)
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
Lisa Thieme et al.
Lisa Thieme et al.
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Short summary
To improve our understanding of the effects of tree species selection and management intensity on dissolved organic matter (DOM), we studied solution samples along the water flow path through forests with spectroscopic methods and biodergradation tests. There are distinct changes of DOM composition, and biodegradability following the water path. Aboveground DOM was influenced by tree species selection but not by management intensity. Differences became aligned in mineral soil.
To improve our understanding of the effects of tree species selection and management intensity...