Decomposition and Nutrient Dynamics in Oak and Mixed-Hardwood Litter in Mt. Kyebang Forest Ecosystem

 

Kim, Choonsig, Young-Kul Kim, Jong-Hwan Lim, Joon-Hwan Shin, and Jeong-Soo Oh

Forest Research Institute, Seoul 130-012, Korea

 

 

Abstract

 

Patterns of mass loss and nutrient release from decomposing oak and mixed hardwood litter in natural hardwood forest in Mt. Kyebang, Kwangwon-do were examined using litter bags placed on the forest floor during 28 months. Mass loss rates were significantly higher in the mixed litter than in the oak litter types during the study period. Mass loss rates from decomposing litter were about 34% yr-1 in the oak litter and 42% yr-1 in the mixed litter types. Nutrient concentrations such as nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and magnesium from decomposing litter were also higher in mixed litter than in oak litter types during the study period. However, calcium concentrations from decomposing litter after one year were generally higher in oak litter than in mixed litter types. Nutrient concentrations (N, P, Ca, Mg) except for potassium increased compared with initial concentration of litter, while potassium concentrations dropped rapidly during the first 5 months and then stabilized. The results indicate that the results obtained from single species in mixed hardwood forest ecosystem should be applied with caution because of the potential differences between mass loss and nutrient release in decomposing litter types.