Plant and Soil

, Volume 396, Issue 1–2, pp 59–72 | Cite as

Studying the impact of living roots on the decomposition of soil organic matter in two different forestry-drained peatlands

  • M. Linkosalmi
  • J. Pumpanen
  • C. Biasi
  • J. Heinonsalo
  • R. Laiho
  • A. Lindén
  • V. Palonen
  • T. Laurila
  • A. Lohila
Regular Article


Background and aims

Forestry drainage is the main management practice of peatlands in Finland. The influence of drainage and management on carbon (C) fluxes may vary, e.g., depending on the original peatland type. We have studied C fluxes in two forestry-drained peatlands with different nutrient status.


Our hypothesis that the differences in the C balance between these two sites can be attributed to differences in soil respiration rates, and in particular to the priming effect, was tested with laboratory microcosm flux measurements and 14C isotopic partitioning method. A two-pool mixing-model based on the natural difference in the respired 14CO2 between the peat and plants was employed.


We found no statistically significant priming effect in either nutrient-poor or nutrient-rich soil, respectively.


As no differences in priming effect were found, we can conclude that the nutrient status of the sites does not affect the priming effect in the peat soils studied here, thus our results suggest that organic soils do not support priming to the same extent as mineral soils.


Peat soil Priming effect Radiocarbon dating SOM decomposition Microcosm Pine seedling 



We gratefully acknowledge the financial support from the Maj and Tor Nessling foundation and by the European Commission through the project GHG Europe (244122). J. Pumpanen, A. Lindén and J. Heinonsalo were supported by the Academy of Finland research 130984, 218094, 255576 and 263858 as well as by the Academy of Finland Centre of Excellence Program. The study was further financially supported by the Academy of Finland research 132045 (granted to C. Biasi). We also thank Aki Tsuruta (Finnish Meteorological Institute) for valuable statistical assistance.

Compliance with ethical standards

We ensure the quality and integrity of this research. We have followed the good scientific practice as formulated in international standards for authors, developed at the 2nd World Conference on Research Integrity in Singapore in July 2010. The implementation did not require statement by an ethics committee, by the Committee on Animal Experimentation or any corresponding statement or permit. Furthermore, the research is independent and impartial and no results were published before.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Linkosalmi
    • 1
  • J. Pumpanen
    • 2
  • C. Biasi
    • 3
  • J. Heinonsalo
    • 4
  • R. Laiho
    • 5
  • A. Lindén
    • 2
  • V. Palonen
    • 6
  • T. Laurila
    • 1
  • A. Lohila
    • 1
  1. 1.Finnish Meteorological Institute, Atmospheric Composition ResearchHelsinkiFinland
  2. 2.Department of Forest SciencesUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland
  3. 3.Department of Environmental ScienceUniversity of Eastern FinlandKuopioFinland
  4. 4.Department of Food and Environmental SciencesUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland
  5. 5.Natural Resources Institute FinlandParkanoFinland
  6. 6.Department of PhysicsUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland

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