Cation exchange properties of forest litter as influenced by vegetation type and decomposition Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/rj430691c

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  • Decomposition of forest litter is a complex process involving interactions between physical, chemical and biological factors. As litter decomposes it is chemically altered. Cation exchange capacities of litter represent a means of characterizing the number of hydrophilic acid groups. Some kind of soil-root ion exchange mechanisms are utilized by the plant for uptake of most nutrients. Cation exchange capacities were determined by ammonium saturation and subsequent Kjeldahl distillation. Solvent extractions of some litters were made with water at three different temperatures, and with isopropanol, ethanol, acetone, water, NaOH, and HCl. The extracted litter was used for CEC determinations. A variety of forest floor materials from different forest types in Eastern North America and Oregon were used in this study. L, P, and H layers were used to determine the effect of decomposition on CEC. Significantly increased CEC magnitudes with increased decomposition was shown for the Oregon samples. Eastern forests also showed increased CEC's with increased decomposition except where high ash contents of an H layer resulted in lower CEC values. Litter samples from the various Oregon forest types showed significant differences in CEC's between vegetation types. Litters from more productive timber sites had greater CEC values for L and F layers than litter from less productive sites. Organic solvents extracted significantly less material from litter than inorganic solvents. Hot water extracted more material from litter than cooler temperature water. CEC's of litter extracted with organic solvents were lower than CEC's of litter extracted with inorganic solvents. Litter collected from streams showed CEC values for bark to be highest and twigs to be lowest. Litter that was more highly decomposed by stream activity had higher CEC's than less decomposed samples. Pre- and post-logging samples that represented combined L + F + H layers did not show significant differences in CEC values between vegetation types.
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