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Dissolved organic carbon (DOC) concentrations in UK soils and the influence of soil, vegetation type and seasonality

In this paper the authors relate soil dissolved organic carbon (DOC) concentrations to abiotic factors such as temperature, rainfall and soil properties.
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© Elsevier

van den Berg, LJL., Shotbolt, L. and Ashmore, MR. (2012). Dissolved organic carbon (DOC) concentrations in UK soils and the influence of soil, vegetation type and seasonality. Science of the Total Environment, 427-428, 269-276.

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Given the lack of studies which measured dissolved organic carbon (DOC) over long periods, especially in non-forest habitat, the aim of this study was to expand the existing datasets with data of mainly non-forest sites that were representative of the major soil and habitat types in the UK. A further aim was to predict DOC concentrations from a number of biotic and abiotic explanatory variables such as rainfall, temperature, vegetation type and soil type in a multivariate way.

Pore water was sampled using Rhizon or Prenart samplers at two to three week intervals for 1 year. DOC, pH, organic carbon, carbon/nitrogen (C:N) ratios of soils and slope were measured and data on vegetation, soil type, temperature and precipitation were obtained.

The majority of the variation in DOC concentrations between the UK sites could be explained by simple empirical models that included annual precipitation, and soil C:N ratio with precipitation being negatively related to DOC concentrations and C:N ratio being positively related to DOC concentrations.

Our study adds significantly to the data reporting DOC concentrations in soils, especially in grasslands, heathlands and moorlands. Broad climatic and site factors have been identified as key factors influencing DOC concentrations.