This volume compiles the results of long-term observations of site properties and ecosystem processes for three beech forests. Representing a spectrum of common beech forest sites in Central Europe, they receive similar atmospheric inputs and are growing under similar climatic conditions, but differ in their soil acidity. Significant differences were observed in the diversity and activities of fauna and microbes in these soils, which was the major driving variable for the nutrient cycling processes, growth patterns, greenhouse gas emissions and the C and N sequestration in these forests. Differences in N and C contents and cycling among the three beech sites represented three phases (quasi steadystate, accumulation and degradation) as described by ecosystem theory on the functioning and historical development of the N dynamic of other 50 European ecosystems. Various implications for the future management of these and similar beech sites are discussed.

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