Long-term drainage for forestry inhibits extracellular phenol oxidase activity in Finnish boreal mire peat
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Drainage for forestry has been amongst the most extensive of land management practices applied to northern latitude peatlands, particularly in northern Europe. Extracellular phenol oxidases play an important role in the carbon cycle of soils. This study investigated the effects of long-term (45 years) drainage for forestry upon surface peat extracellular phenol oxidase activity, soluble phenolic concentrations and pH at ombrotrophic bog, oligotrophic fen and mesotrophic fen sites at a Finnish mire complex. Phenol oxidase activity was reduced by drainage at all three sites. Phenol oxidase activity was positively correlated with peat pH across all sites irrespective of drainage treatment, suggesting that pH is a major factor influencing peat phenol oxidase activity at the mire complex. Peat pH became more acidic with drainage at the fen sites, and it is likely that this contributed to the suppression of peat phenol oxidase activity. The reduction of peat phenol oxidase activity with drainage was accompanied by increased concentrations of water-soluble phenolics at all three sites, and the potential contribution of this to changes in peat carbon stocks following drainage is discussed.
European Journal of Soil Science