Rainer Baritz:

Humus Forms in Forests of the Northern German Lowlands

2003. 145 pages, 68 figures, 17 tables, 21x30cm, 650 g
Language: English

(Sonderhefte Reihe F - Geol. Jahrb., Heft 3)

ISBN 978-3-510-95908-2, paperback, price: 42.00 €

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BibTeX file


Humus Forms morphology microbiology Wald Norddeutsches Tiefland


synopsis top ↑

Humus forms in forests of the northern German lowlands were investigated on the basis of morphological, soil chemical and microbiological characteristics. Existing classifications for humus forms in temperate forest ecosystems were reviewed and compared, and the historical development of the German classification was compiled. Morphological aspects of humus forms in intensively managed forests are presented. A soil moisture index is suggested which has been harmonized between the site mapping systems of the lowlands, and which provides a systematic approach to enter the classification of humus forms. The study then analyzed the chemical data of the German large-scale soil inventory with respect to humus forms, and additionally investigated a representative subset of soil inventory points for microbiological activity. Decomposition types were derived and compared to humus forms and soil chemical data. The leveling effects of pollutant deposition on the soil chemical condition in central European forest ecosystems were confirmed. These effects do not correspond to the range of humus forms and microbiological activity types that were found. It can be concluded that the commonly used chemical indicators for the soil condition (C/N, base saturation and pH) do not sufficiently reflect the nutrient and productivity status of forest soils.

Table of contents top ↑

1 Introduction
1.1 Humus in forest soils
1.2 Processes of decomposition
1.3 Humus forms
1.4 Research objectivs
2 Classification of humus forms
2.1 German classification of humus forms
2.1.1 Morphological classification of humus forms in forest site and soil
2.1.2 Humus form and type of soil condition in the north-eastern German site
mapping system
2.2 French classification of humus forms
2.3 Canadian classification of humus forms
2.4 Comparison of the German, French and Canadian approaches
2.5 Regional distribution of humus forms in forests of the northern German
2.5.1 Regionalization of grid point inventory data
2.5.2 from the Mapping results in the north-eastern lowlands
3 Methods
3.1 Study sites
3.1.1 German National Forest Soil Inventory
3.1.2 Inventory sites for respiration measurements
3.2 Ecological site descriptors
3.3 Soil chemical indicators of humus quality
3.3.1 A/B status: acidity and nutrient availability
3.3.2 N status: carbon-related N storage (C/N ratio)
3.4 Microbiological indicators of humus quality - measurement of soil
3.4.1 Introduction to soil respirometry
3.4.2 Respiratory parameters and graphical analysis of respiration curves
3.4.3 Sampling
3.4.4 Sample storage and processing
3.4.5 Respirometers, laboratory conditions, data set I+II
3.5 Statistical treatment of the data
4 Morphological aspects of humus forms
4.1 Soil moisture and humus forms
4.1.1 Development of a moisture index for the northern German lowlands
4.1.2 Comparison between moisture index and humus form
4.2 Humus content of humus horizons
4.3 Difficulties with the identification of humus forms in managed forests
4.3.1 F-Mor and disturbed humus profiles
4.3.2 The degree of podsolization as an aid to distinguish between
low-activity humus forms
4.3.3 Humus forms on afforestation sites
4.3.4 Grassmoder in mature Scots pine stands
4.3.5 Effects of the artificial lowering of the ground water
4.4 Thickness and carbon storage of the forest floor humus layer
4.5 Concluding remarks concerning humus morphology
5 Soil chemical characteristics of humus forms
5.1 Type of soil condition and morphological humus form
5.1.1 Mull
5.1.2 Mullmoder
5.1.3 Moder
5.1.4 Mormoder
5.1.5 Mor
5.2 Soil chemical parameters and type of soil condition
5.3 Acidity and N status of humus horizons
5.3.1 (L)F horizon
5.3.2 H horizon
5.3.3 A horizon
5.4 Discussion
6 Microbiological indicators of humus quality
6.1 Microbiological indicators for humus horizons
6.1.1 L horizon
6.1.2 F horizon
6.1.3 H horizon
6.1.4 A horizon
6.1.5 Concluding remarks
6.2 Decomposition type
6.2.1 Data set I: north-western German lowlands
6.2.2 Data set II: north-eastern German lowlands
6.3 Soil respiration and soil chemistry
6.3.1 Respiratory parameters and soil chemical properties of humus forms
6.3.2 Decomposition type and type of soil condition
6.4 Discussion
7 Integrated aspects of humus form classification
7.1 Soil respiratory data in humus form classification
7.1.1 Research objective
7.1.2 Methods
7.1.3 Sampling
7.2 Anthropogenic effects on the development of humus forms
7.2.1 Role of steady state in humus dynamics in intensively managed forests
7.2.2 Effects of air pollutants
7.2.3 Climate change
7.3 Improvements of the present German classification of humus forms
8 Conclusions
9 Summary
10 Zusammenfassung
11 List of tables
12 List of figures
13 References

Short Abstract. top ↑

This publication presents a study of Humus types from forests of the northern German lowlands based on morphological, soil chemical and microbiological characteristics. The study proposes a soil moisture index and presents chemical data for these soils and presents data on microbiolgical activities in these soils. Decomposition types were derived and compared to humus forms and soil chemical data.