Inter- and intra-annual variations in canopy fine litterfall and carbon and nitrogen inputs to the forest floor in two European coniferous forests
Faculty of Sciences. Biology
Annals of forest science. - Paris
, p. 367-379
Context The amount and chemistry of litterfall have been known to strongly vary among the years with important implications for ecosystem nutrient cycles, but there are few quantitative data describing such variations. Aims We studied the climatic implications on the variation in litterfall and its C and N input to soil in two distinct European coniferous forests. Methods Year-to-year variations in canopy litterfall were measured in a Scots pine stand (Hyytiälä, Finland) over 13 years, and a Douglas fir stand (Speulderbos, The Netherlands) over 3 years. Results Important inter-annual variations in litterfall were observed in Scots pine. Litterfall was mainly driven by leaf senescence; however, premature needle fall was observed in high wind speed and early frost events. The seasonal variation in litterfall was characterized by a maximum in September in Scots pine, and by a biphasic variation pattern in Douglas fir, in May and November. Lower seasonal variations and lower annual average in litterfall N content were observed in Scots pine. Conclusion Significant inter- and intra-annual variations in litterfall and chemistry and between the sites were demonstrated; and it depended on year-to-year differences in climate and extreme weather events.