Humification processes of needle litters on forest floors in Japanese cedar (Cryptomeria japonica) and Hinoki cypress (Chamaecyparis obtusa) plantations in Japan
- ISSN: 0032079X
- DOI: 10.1007/s11104-010-0397-z
We quantitatively clarified the early humification processes on Japanese cedar and Hinoki cypress forest floors by using a litterbag experiment and the solid-state (13)C CPMAS NMR technique. There was no significant effect on litter mass loss during early humification between both coniferous litters regardless of the shape of their needles. Carbon composition in both litters showed similar trends during early humification. A/O-A as a humification index was low, around 0.6, in both litters throughout the experiment period although 60% of litter mass was lost. Coniferous litter incubated for 3 years might not be well-humified and would be susceptible to physical fragmentation. Carbon mass loss rates in conifers were in the following order: O-alkyl > aliphatic > aromatic > carbonyl carbons, differing with hardwoods. Conifers had concomitantly higher and lower mass loss rates of aliphatic and aromatic carbons than hardwoods. Soil organic carbon (SOC) accumulated in topsoil for conifers had relatively high and low contents of aliphatic and aromatic carbons than that for hardwood. These compositional differences of SOC among forests could be caused by the high and low supply rates of aliphatic and aromatic carbons from litter to topsoil. Consequently, initial litter nature and humification processes can affect the compositional qualities of SOC accumulated in soil.