Forest Floor: Carbon cycling in forest floors

The project quantifies C fluxes in forest floors along gradients in climate and bedrock in Switzerland and Germany. The forest floor is the interface between the above- and the belowground part of forest ecosystems. It provides habitat for organisms, is a seedbed and growth substrate for vegetation, and acts as central ecosystem hub where organic matter, nutrients, water, and gases are stored, absorbed, and transformed. The FF is vulnerable to changes in climate, nutrient status and management, but its importance and sensitivity remains uncertain. The project is part of a German Research Consortium assessing the formation of forest floor and its role for the water, carbon and nutrient cycles and as a habit for organisms. This project will quantify C fluxes in the forest floor by measuring radiocarbon contents in C pools and fluxes, and tracing isotopically labelled (13C, 15N, 2H) litter in the FF and in the mineral soil beneath.