About this Research Topic
This Research Topic has been developed in collaboration with Antra Boca of Latvia University of Life Sciences and Technologies.
In forest sciences, research on vegetation effects on soil organic matter (SOM) quantity and quality span more than six decades. Yet major knowledge gaps remain that prevent us from understanding the link between the forest vegetation properties we can observe and soil organic matter belowground. Forest vegetation (from trees to associated understory plants, as well as early successional species after disturbances) is the main source of organic carbon in forest soils through above- and belowground inputs of organic matter. It also substantially influences various soil properties (e.g. temperature, moisture, pH, composition, and activity of the soil biota) that, in turn, affect the cycling of SOM. We often lack a basic understanding of fundamental questions related to SOM pool formation and cycling, and its link to forest vegetation properties. Furthermore, the existing information is unevenly distributed across the globe.
This Research Topic aims to bring together research on how vegetation affects soil organic matter in forests. We welcome studies from all over the world on how soil organic matter quantity, stability, and cycling is affected by stand characteristics, species composition, the physicochemical properties of foliage, root, bark and wood litter from various levels of the forest canopy (over- and understory), and the composition and activity of soil biota. We seek studies conducted at various spatial and temporal scales, and especially encourage research from globally underrepresented areas such as, but not exclusively, Africa, South America, or Siberia. A range of contributions are welcome: field studies or experiments, laboratory experiments, long-term monitoring or surveys, meta-analyses, model-based studies, review articles, and concept and perspective letters.
We encourage the submission of articles on:
• The effect that measurable stand characteristics (over- and understory species composition, basal area, coverage, etc.) have on SOM at various spatial scales, especially in geographically underrepresented areas
• How physicochemical properties of forest vegetation at various canopy levels affect SOM cycling
• Experiments and field observations elucidating mechanisms of SOC stabilization in forests
• How the composition and activity of soil biota are affected by forest vegetation properties, and/or subsequently how it affects SOM cycling in forests
• How anthropogenically induced alterations of forest vegetation (e.g. grazing of domestic animals, species selection, active management, etc.) affect SOM cycling
Keywords: Soil organic matter, forest vegetation, biogeochemical cycles, carbon stabilization, soil biota
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.