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Conservation of Plant Organic Matter and Soil Formation in Ecosystems of Zonal Tundra of Extreme Northeast Asia. P. 255–264

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Section: Biology




Aleksey A. Pugachev*, Evgeniy A. Tikhmenev */**
*Institute of Biological Problems of the North, Far Eastern Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences (Magadan, Russian Federation)
**North-Eastern State University (Magadan, Russian Federation)


The paper studies the features of conservation of organic matter and the functioning of soil-cover complexes in typical tundra phytocenoses of the Far Northeast of Asia. Significant inhibition of the biological cycle of substances in conditions of low temperatures and weak microbiological activity of soils in the tundra zone leads to the conservation of chemical elements in the dead parts of plants. Annual plant litter in the plain tundra is 0.78−1.87 t/ha. Photosynthesizing organs dominate in its structure (49−65 % of litter mass) and roots (31−47 %); the role of lignifying organs is insignificant. the ash and nitrogen content in the litter of previous years can exceed 49−60 times the amount of chemical elements annually transferred with plant residues, which defines the specificity of the soil-forming process. In the dead plant mass of tundra communities, 1.02−2.94 t/ha of chemical elements are preserved for an indefinite period of time, and a considerable part of them is represented by nitrogen (0.33−0.95 t/ha). The decomposition course of dead plant residues in the investigated tundra communities is accompanied by a significant accumulation of silicon, aluminum and iron, substantially less − by calcium, magnesium, as well as by a loss of mobile elements – potassium and phosphorus. The substance exchange between soils and vegetation apparently occurs according to the following scheme: root systems of plants extract mobilized biophilic elements from soil, accumulating them in a synthesized organic matter, the main part of which is concentrated in above-ground organs and peat litter. After the death, decomposition and mineralization, the great part of ashy elements and nitrogen of plant litter remains in the upper part of the profile. The bulk of them is involved into the biological cycle, a certain amount migrates into the mineral part of the profile or carried out beyond the landscape with surface waters. The obtained data allow considering tundra landscapes as natural accumulators of transformed solar energy and organogens at a global scale.


tundra landscape, soil-biological process, phytomass stock, plant litter, conservation of organic matter
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