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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2021

Magnesium dynamics in decomposing foliar litter - A synthesis

Berg, Bjorn; Sun, Tao; Johansson, Maj-Britt; Sanborn, Paul; Ni, Xiangying; Akerblom, Staffan; Lonn, Mikael


We synthesized available data for magnesium (Mg) dynamics in newly shed and decomposing foliar litter of mainly pine (Pinus) species, Norway spruce (Picea abies), and birch (Betula) species. Using original, measured data from 40 stands organized in climatic gradients we intended to determine patterns of Mg concentration and net release vs accumulated mass loss of the litter. This synthesis is likely the first synthesis of Mg dynamics in decomposing litter.In paired stands, litter of both Norway spruce and lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta) had higher Mg concentrations than Scots pine (Pinus silvestris), with concentrations in Norway spruce litter even twice as high.In decomposing litter, Mg concentrations followed a quadratic (X-2-X) function vs accumulated mass loss and consequently had minima, different for Norway spruce and Scots pine litter. Out of 68 decomposition studies 53 gave minimum concentration. The Mg minimum concentration during decomposition was positively related to initial Mg concentration for Scots pine and Scots pine plus lodgepole pine but not for Norway spruce. The increase in concentration suggests that after the minimum Mg was temporarily limiting.For Norway spruce litter there was a relationship between minimum concentration of Mg and the limit value. There was no such relationship for Scots pine and not for the combined pine data.Magnesium net release started directly after the incubation and was linear to accumulated mass loss of litter, giving a slope coefficient (release rate) for each study. The net release rate was linear to initial Mg concentration and all studies combined gave a negative linear relationship.


Litter; Decomposition; Magnesium; Mg dynamics; Mg release; Accumulated mass loss

Published in

2021, Volume: 382, article number: 114756
Publisher: ELSEVIER

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      Soil Science

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