Humus data of the experimental site in Belgium (FORBIO, Zedelgem) (November 2011)

Usage Rights

This data is Free within projects.

Dataset Abstract

The humus form is the expression of the equilibrium between litter production, litter decomposition and humification in a forest ecosystem, resulting from the biological action of bacteria, fungi, and soil fauna. The observed humus form reflects a certain combination of ecological factors as climate, soil, tree species composition and management. In a site with constant climate and soil the effect of tree species composition on humus form becomes determining. The effect of tree species mixtures is less well understood and so far mainly studied in microcosm experiments. The idea is to quantify the mass of the ectorganic horizon and to describe the humus form. These features can be further related to variables as microbial activity, litter decomposition and earthworm biomass and diversity. Only the monoculture and high diversity (4 species) plots where sampled, resulting in 20 sampled plots. In every plot, an ectorganic sample (25 x 25 cm) and humus form description is done. Ectorganic samples are taken to the lab to get air-dried.

Dataset Design

Monoculture and high diversity (4 species) plots where sampled. 20 plots in total. In every plot an ectorganic sample and humus form description is done. In principle, within every plot the samples are taken randomly, but samples are not taken close to tree stems. In the monoculture plots, samples were located in the middle of the plots. In the high diversity plots, the sampling location was located randomly on a 'crossing point' of 4 species. On an estimated 30 by 30 cm square ground vegetation is removed in order that an ectorganic sample (25 x 25 cm) can be taken. Only the ectorganic forest floor material (OL, OF and OH horizon, but not OLn and the mineral soil) is sampled in a bag. Later samples are transported to the lab where they can be air-dried in an oven to constant weight (75°C). Half a meter away from this sampling point an observation trench (50 cm long and 20 cm deep) is dug in order to make the humus form description following the European Humus Form Reference Base (Zanella et al. 2011). Four places along the trench are observed in order to make a sound humus form identification. At least one photo of the humus profile per plot is made.

Spatial Extent

FORBIO Zedelgem, Belgium

Temporal Extent

Autumn 2011

Taxonomic Extent

Forest ectorganic horizon

Data columns available in the raw data part of this dataset

Data of sampling
Data group: Sampling Date
Time of sampling
Data group: Sampling time
Unique plot id
Data group: Zedelgem plot id
Sample code
Sample point code (year/sampling responsible/country/chronological number of sampling action)
Data group: Helper
Name observer - identifier
Name of person who describes the humus form
Data group: Helper
Hans De Wandeler
Humus form
Humus form name, described according to the European humus forms reference base of Zanella et al. (2011)
Data group: Humus form
Keywords: process, decomposition
* European humus forms reference base of Zanella et al. (2011) also contributed to this column.
Name sampler
Name of person who sampled the ectorganic horizon
Data group: Helper
Mass ectorganic horizon
Oven dry weight of the forest ectorganic horizon of 0.0625m² ((25 x 25) cm²). Dried in an oven at 75°C .
Unit: gram
Data group: Humus mass
Keywords: process, decomposition
Not sampled