Forest soil properties under elevated CO2: A five-year experiment

By Ladislav Holik et al.


  • Oxidizable C, total N and C/N remained unaltered after 5 years of CO2 exposure.
  • A significant decrease in soil pHCaCl2 was found during the 2nd and 3rd year.
  • Small changes on availability of nutrients was found under elevated CO2.
  • Soil microbial biomass showed no alteration after 5 years of CO2 exposure.


Whether rising carbon dioxide (CO2) is causing changes in soil properties remains unclear. Therefore, the objective of our study was to determine the effects of elevated CO2 concentration on a mountain forest soil with respect to soil organic matter content and its quality, cation exchange capacity, nutrient availability and quantity, and activity of soil microbes. In our study, a young mountain beech–spruce forest soil was exposed to ambient (385 ppm) and elevated CO2 (700 ppm) concentrations for a 5-year period. We found that exposure of beech–spruce forest soil to elevated.

CO2 over a 5-year period had no effect on the quantity of soil organic carbon or nitrogen or on the availability of nutrients. The cation exchange capacity decreased under both conditions, ambient and elevated CO2 (over a 5-year period). Changes in soil organic matter content, nutrient availability, and soil enzyme activities showed positive trend. Nevertheless, our results overall showed no significant impact of elevated CO2 on mountain beech-spruce forest soil through 5 years of exposure.

The full (paywalled) article appeared on the European Journal of Soil Biology website at https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1164556321000820


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