Seasonal variations of throughfall chemistry in pure and mixed stands of Oriental beech (Fagus orientalis Lipsky) in Hyrcanian forests (Iran)

Salehi Maryam 1,3, Zahedi Amiri Ghavamuddin 1, Attarod Pedram 1, Salehi Ali 2, Brunner Ivano 3, Schleppi Patrick 3, Thimonier Anne 3

1 Department of Forestry and Forest Economics, Faculty of Natural Resources, University of Tehran, Karaj, Alborz, Iran
2 Department of Forestry, Natural Resources Faculty, University of Guilan, Sowme'eh Sara, Guilan, Iran
3 WSL - Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research, Birmensdorf, Switzerland

Ann. For. Sci. 73 (2016): 371-380

DOI: 10.1007/s13595-015-0525-2


Context: Oriental beech is an economically relevant tree species for Iran and adjacent countries. Yet little is known about nutrient cycling in Oriental beech stands and the influence of the degree of mixture with other species.
Aims: We assessed the effect of seasons on nutrient fluxes in precipitation and whether throughfall chemistry differed between pure and mixed stands.
Methods: Bulk precipitation in the open field and throughfall were sampled during one whole month within each season from August 2013 to May 2014 in a pure (81% of beech trees on average) and a mixed stand (57% of beech trees) of Oriental beech. Samples were analysed for pH, nitrate (NO3-), ammonium (NH4+), phosphorus (P), calcium (Ca2+), magnesium (Mg2+) and potassium (K+).
Results: Nutrient concentrations were generally higher in the growing season than in the dormant season, both in bulk precipitation and in throughfall. Nutrient fluxes were higher in fall and these peaks coincided with higher amounts of precipitation. The concentrations and fluxes of NH4+, NO3-, P, Ca2+, Mg2+, and K+ were generally higher in the mixed stand than in the pure stand in all seasons. Compared to the open field, throughfall fluxes were usually higher, except for NO3- and NH4+, indicating direct canopy uptake of nitrogen.
Conclusion: Canopy composition in Oriental beech stands (owing to differences in foliage chemistry) and seasons (owing to differences in precipitation regime and phenological stages) have a significant effect on throughfall nutrient fluxes.

Keywords: throughfall fluxes, bulk precipitation, nutrient concentrations, canopy composition