- Department of Soil and Environment, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
Manganese availability is negatively associated with carbon storage in northern coniferous forest humus layers
Stendahl, Johan; Berg, Bjorn; Lindahl, Bjorn D.
Carbon sequestration below ground depends on organic matter input and decomposition, but regulatory bottlenecks remain unclear. The relative importance of plant production, climate and edaphic factors has to be elucidated to better predict carbon storage in forests. In Swedish forest soil inventory data from across the entire boreal latitudinal range (n = 2378), the concentration of exchangeable manganese was singled out as the strongest predictor (R-2 = 0.26) of carbon storage in the extensive organic horizon (mor layer), which accounts for one third of the total below ground carbon. In comparison, established ecosystem models applied on the same data have failed to predict carbon stocks (R-2 < 0.05), and in our study manganese availability overshadowed both litter production and climatic factors. We also identified exchangeable potassium as an additional strong predictor, however strongly correlated with manganese. The negative correlation between manganese and carbon highlights the importance of Mn-peroxidases in oxidative decomposition of recalcitrant organic matter. The results support the idea that the fungus-driven decomposition could be a critical factor regulating humus carbon accumulation in boreal forests, as Mn-peroxidases are specifically produced by basidiomycetes.
2017, Volume: 7, article number: 15487
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