Water retention capacity of red−stemmed feathermoss Pleurozium schreberi Mitt.
Pojemność wodna rokietnika pospolitego Pleurozium schreberi Mitt.
Sylwan 168 (2):146-157, 2024
Available online: 2024-04-18
Open Access (CC-BY)
current water retention • forest floor • moss • retention reservoir • storage water capacity

The forest has a high water retention capacity, which is due to dead wood but also to a layer of moss, forming clusters in the lower forest floor. Mosses use rhizoids to collect water from the soil, but they also use their aboveground parts to collect water in the form of vapour or raindrops. The aim of the present work was to investigate the impact of initial humidity on water retention capacity of fresh samples and maximum water capacity for dry samples. The research material used in the present study was collected in the Olkusz Forest District. The samples were cut into equal pieces of the same size. Each sample was weighed before and after rainfall simulation in laboratory conditions. The samples were divided into fractions of stems, rhizoids, and soil. The performed analyses demonstrated that the water retention capacity of moss is extremely important for the water cycle. The average sample capacity is 0.58 [g/g], which translates into 24% of the total rainfall. As much as a third of the rainfall is rainfall is retained by mosses that grow on the lower layer of the forest, which makes them an important part of the water cycle in nature. The experiments have additionally shown that the higher the initial moisture, i.e. the more water in the fresh moss samples collected with the lump of earth, the higher the maximum water retention capacity. The dependence of the initial moisture on the components of the sample structure is explained by 43.22% variation. As much as 56.78% of the variability of the initial moisture content may depend on other factors that were not included in this study. These may include a different number of rhizoids, but also the degree of their binding/bonding of the soil. On the other hand, the lack of correlation of the water retention capacity, either the current one or that related to the dried weight of the sample, with the structural components of the sample tells us a lot about the complexity of the link between the moss and the soil via the rhizoids. The results obtained in the present study are in line with the research on the hydrological properties of forest ecosystems; they also indicate that the role of moss in the forest is very important, but not yet fully understood.

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