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Translocation of 13C-babeled leaf or root litter carbon of beech ( Fagus sylvaticaL.) and ash ( Fraxinus excelsior L) during decomposision a laboratory incubation experiment

The aim was to quantify medium term litter type and litter mixture effects on the translocation and transformation dynamics of root and leaf litter C during decomposition. Partitioning of 13C-labeled root or leaf litter C (beech e Fagus sylvatica L., ash e Fraxinus excelsior L.) to CO2, water-extractable organic C (WEOC), microbial biomass C (CMB) and light (LF) and heavy soil fraction (HF) was determined in a laboratory decomposition experiment of 206 days. The proportions of C mineralized from ash leaf (34%) and root litter (29%) were higher than those from beech leaf (24%) and root litter (23%). In mixture with beech, the mineralization of ash leaf litter was enhanced. Mineralization was positively correlated with litter-derived WEOC until day 29. Water-extractable organic C declined with time, until<0.1% of litter C remained in this fraction. Litter-C recovery in CMB was higher for ash (0.7e1.0%) than for beech (0.2 e0.4%). The litter C recovery in HF (4e12%) was positively correlated with that in WEOC (days 9 and 29) and CMB, but did not differ between treatments. Ash leaf litter mineralization showed different behavior in mixed treatments from pure treatments. Thus, the ability to transfer results from pure to mixed treatments is limited. The litter differed in chemical composition and in mineralization dynamics, but differences in partitioning to HF, WEOC and MB were finally of minor importance.



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