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DIRT: Detrital Input and Removal Treatments
In 1997, Kate Lajtha, Bruce Caldwell, and Phil Sollins established a long-term field study in an old growth coniferous forest at the H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest to address how detrital quality and quantity control soil organic matter accumulation and stabilization.
The central goal of the DIRT project is to assess how rates and sources of plant litter inputs control the accumulation and dynamics of organic matter and nutrients in forest soils over decadal time scales. The project examines processes at multiple levels, across decades and centuries, exploring the intricate interconnections of biology and chemistry that lead to the formation of humic materials over these hitherto unexplored long time spans. Our plots are part of an informal network of similar experimental treatments that span a significant climatic gradient and that encompass both coniferous and deciduous forests, and that vary widely in anthropogenic N loading.
Current DIRT sites include Harvard Forest, MA (oak forest, established 1991); Bousson Experimental Research Reserve, PA (deciduous forest, established 1992); Síkf?kút Forest, Hungary (turkey oak forest, established 2001), and the Michigan Biological Station, MI (pine forest, established 2004).