Dehydrogenase Activity in a Litter Manipulation Experiment in Temperate Forest Soil

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Abstract

Soil enzyme activities are “sensors” of soil organic matter (SOM) decomposition since they integrate information about microbial status and physico-chemical condition of soils. We measured dehydrogenase enzyme activity in a deciduous temperate oak forest in Hungary under litter manipulation treatments. The Síkfőkút Detritus Input and Removal Treatments (DIRT) Project includes treatments with doubling of leaf litter and woody debris inputs as well as removal of leaf litter and trenching to prevent root inputs. We hypothesized that increased detrital inputs increase labile carbon substrates to soils and would increase enzyme activities particularly that of dehydrogenase, which has been used as an indicator of soil microbial activity. We also hypothesized that enzyme activities would decrease with detritus removal plots and decrease labile carbon inputs to soil. After ten years of treatments, litter removal had a stronger effect on soil dehydrogenase activity than did litter additions. These results showed that in this forest ecosystem the changed litter production affected soil microbial activity: reduced litter production decreased the soil dehydrogenase activity; increased litter production had no significant effect on the enzyme activity.

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Acta Silvatica et Lignaria Hungarica

The Journal of University of West Hungary

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