Linking Foliar Chemistry to Forest Floor Solid and Solution Phase Organic C and N in Picea abies [L.] Karst Stands in Northern Bohemia


Dissolved organic carbon and nitrogen (DOC and DON) produced in the forest floor are important for ecosystem functions such as microbial metabolism, pedogenesis and pollutant transport. Past work has shown that both DOC and DON production are related to litterfall and standing stocks of C and N in the forest floor. This study, conducted in spring, 2003, investigated variation in forest floor water extractable DOC (WEDOC) and DON (WEDON) and forest floor C and N as a function of lignin, cellulose and N contained in live canopy foliage across eight Picea abies [L.] Karst stands in northern Bohemia. Based on Near Infrared Spectroscopy (NIR) analysis of foliar materials, lignin:N and cellulose:N content of the youngest needles (those produced in 2002) were positively and significantly related to WEDOC (R 2 = 0.82–0.97; P<0.01) and to forest floor C:N ratio (R = 0.72–0.78; P<0.01). Foliar N was strongly and negatively related to WEDOC and C:N ratio (R = −0.91 and 0.72; P<0.05) among our study sites. WEDON was positively correlated to foliar lignin:N (R = 0.48; P<0.05; n=40). Forest floor C pools were not positively correlated with foliar lignin and cellulose and forest floor N pools were not positively correlated with foliar N. Instead, a significant negative correlation was found between forest floor N pools and foliar cellulose (R=−0.41; P<0.05), and between forest floor C pools and foliar N (R = −0.44; P<0.05). From a remote sensing standpoint, our results are important because canopy reflectance properties are primarily influenced by the most recent foliage, and it was the chemistry of the most recently produced needles that showed a stronger relationship with forest floor WEDOC and C:N ratio suggesting forest floor production of WEDOC can be calculated regionally with remote sensing.

Publication Date




Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

Journal Title

Plant Soil

Document Type



© Springer 2006