Browsing by Subject "LITTER DECOMPOSITION"

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  • Kastovska, Eva; Strakova, Petra; Edwards, Keith; Urbanova, Zuzana; Barta, Jiri; Mastny, Jiri; Santruckova, Hana; Picek, Tomas (2018)
    Peatlands are large repositories of carbon (C). Sphagnum mosses play a key role in C sequestration, whereas the presence of vascular plants is generally thought to stimulate peat decomposition. Recent studies stress the importance of plant species for peat quality and soil microbial activity. Thus, learning about specific plant-microbe-soil relations and their potential feedbacks for C and nutrient cycling are important for a correct understanding of C sequestration in peatlands and its potential shift associated with vegetation change. We studied how the long-term presence of blueberry and cotton-grass, the main vascular dominants of spruce swamp forests, is reflected in the peat characteristics, soil microbial biomass and activities, and the possible implications of their spread for nutrient cycling and C storage in these systems. We showed that the potential effect of vascular plants on ecosystem functioning is species specific and need not necessarily result in increased organic matter decomposition. Although the presence of blueberry enhanced phosphorus availability, soil microbial biomass and the activities of C-acquiring enzymes, cotton-grass strongly depleted phosphorus and nitrogen from the peat. The harsh conditions and prevailing anoxia retarded the decomposition of cotton-grass litter and caused no significant enhancement in microbial biomass and exoenzymatic activity. Therefore, the spread of blueberry in peatlands may stimulate organic matter decomposition and negatively affect the C sequestration process, whereas the potential spread of cotton-grass would not likely change the functioning of peatlands as C sinks.
  • Könönen, M.; Jauhiainen, J.; Straková, P.; Heinonsalo, J.; Laiho, R.; Kusin, K.; Limin, S.; Vasander, H. (2018)
    Swamp forests on deep tropical peatlands have undergone extensive deforestation and draining for agriculture and plantations, consequently becoming globally significant carbon (C) sources. To study the effects of land-use change on peat as a biological environment, which directly affects decomposition dynamics and greenhouse gas emissions, we sampled peat from four common land-use types representing different management intensities in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia. The near-pristine swamp forest was used to describe unmanaged conditions, and the three other sites in order of increasing management intensity were reforested; degraded; and agricultural. We examined peat substrate quality (total C & nitrogen (N), dissolved organic C (DOC) and N (DON)), organic matter quality characterized by infrared spectroscopy, and microbial biomass and extracellular enzyme activity, to describe both biotic and abiotic conditions in peat. We found that the peat at altered sites was poorer in quality, i.e. decomposability, as demonstrated by the higher intensity of aromatic and aliphatic compounds, and lower intensity of polysaccharides, and concentration of total N, DOC, and DON compared to the peat in the swamp forest. The observed differences in peat properties can be linked to changes in litter input and decomposition conditions altered after deforestation and draining, as well as increased leaching and fires. The quality of the peat substrate was directly related to its biotic properties, with altered sites generally having lower microbial biomass and enzyme activity. However, irrespective of management intensity or substrate quality, enzyme activity was limited primarily to the first 0–3 cm of the peat profile. Some differences between wet and dry seasons were observed in enzyme activity especially in swamp forest, where the most measured enzyme activities were higher in dry season. Reforestation 6 years before our measurements had not yet restored enzyme activity in the peat to the level of the swamp forest, although the topmost peat characteristics in the reforested site already resembled those in the swamp forest. This is likely contributed by the limited capacity of the young tree stand to produce litter to support peat formation and restore the quality and structure of the peat, and the chemical weed control performed at the site. Therefore, we conclude that intensive land management, including deforestation and draining, leads to the surface peat becoming poorer biological environment, and it may take long time to restore the peat properties.
  • Ojanen, Paavo; Mäkiranta, Päivi; Penttilä, Timo; Minkkinen, Kari (2017)
    Logging residue piles have been suggested to markedly increase the decomposition of the underlying peat soil leading to large carbon dioxide emissions. We aimed at scrutinizing this postulate with straightforward decomposition (mass loss) measurements. For the purpose, authentic soil organic matter (humus and peat) was incubated in mesh bags under piles and at control plots. The effect of piles was assumed to result from physical (shading and insulation on soil surface) and chemical-biological (leaching of nutrients and fresh organic matter) sources. To distinguish between the two, artificial piles of inorganic matter were established to mimic the bare physical effects. Enhancement of decomposition in the soil under the real and artificial piles was assessed by measuring the mass loss of cellulose strips. Logging residue piles had clear physical effects on soil: temperatures were lowered and their diurnal variation subdued, and relative humidity at the soil surface was higher. The effect on soil moisture was also evident, but more variable, including both decreases and increases. These effects, mimicked by the artificial piles, decreased rather than increased cellulose mass loss. As the real piles, on the other hand, increased mass loss, we conclude that logging residue piles may enhance decomposition in soil due to chemical-biological mechanisms. Also the results on humus and peat mass loss indicate that piles can both increase and decrease decomposition. Consistent, remarkable increase in mass loss was not observed. Thus, our results do not support the postulate of logging residue piles dramatically increasing decomposition of soil organic matter. Rather, they hint that the effect of logging residue piles on soil is an interplay of physical and chemical-biological effects and carbon transport via roots and fungi. To fully understand and quantify these effects, vertical C fluxes between piles and soil and horizontal C fluxes within soil need to be assessed in addition to decomposition in soil and piles.
  • Thomas, H. J. D.; Bjorkman, A. D.; Myers-Smith, I. H.; Elmendorf, S. C.; Kattge, J.; Diaz, S.; Vellend, M.; Blok, D.; Cornelissen, J. H. C.; Forbes, B. C.; Henry, G. H. R.; Hollister, R. D.; Normand, S.; Prevéy, J. S.; Rixen, C.; Schaepman-Strub, G.; Wilmking, M.; Wipf, S.; Cornwell, W. K.; Beck, P. S. A.; Georges, D.; Goetz, S. J.; Guay, K. C.; Rüger, N.; Soudzilovskaia, N. A.; Spasojevic, M. J.; Alatalo, J. M.; Alexander, H. D.; Anadon-Rosell, A.; Angers-Blondin, S.; te Beest, M.; Berner, L. T.; Björk, R. G.; Buchwal, A.; Buras, A.; Carbognani, M.; Christie, K. S.; Collier, L. S.; Cooper, E. J.; Elberling, B.; Eskelinen, A.; Frei, E. R.; Grau, O.; Grogan, P.; Hallinger, M.; Heijmans, M. M. P. D.; Hermanutz, L.; Hudson, J. M. G.; Johnstone, J. F.; Hülber, K.; Iturrate-Garcia, M.; Iversen, C. M.; Jaroszynska, F.; Kaarlejarvi, E.; Kulonen, A.; Lamarque, L. J.; Lantz, T. C.; Lévesque, E.; Little, C. J.; Michelsen, A.; Milbau, A.; Nabe-Nielsen, J.; Nielsen, S. S.; Ninot, J. M.; Oberbauer, S. F.; Olofsson, J.; Onipchenko, V. G.; Petraglia, A.; Rumpf, S. B.; Shetti, R.; Speed, J. D. M.; Suding, K. N.; Tape, K. D.; Tomaselli, M.; Trant, A. J.; Treier, U. A.; Tremblay, M.; Venn, S. E.; Vowles, T.; Weijers, S.; Wookey, P. A.; Zamin, T. J.; Bahn, M.; Blonder, B.; van Bodegom, P. M.; Bond-Lamberty, B.; Campetella, G.; Cerabolini, B. E. L.; Chapin, F. S.; Craine, J. M.; Dainese, M.; Green, W. A.; Jansen, S.; Kleyer, M.; Manning, P.; Niinemets, Ü.; Onoda, Y.; Ozinga, W. A.; Peñuelas, J.; Poschlod, P.; Reich, P. B.; Sandel, B.; Schamp, B. S.; Sheremetiev, S. N.; de Vries, F. T. (2020)
    The majority of variation in six traits critical to the growth, survival and reproduction of plant species is thought to be organised along just two dimensions, corresponding to strategies of plant size and resource acquisition. However, it is unknown whether global plant trait relationships extend to climatic extremes, and if these interspecific relationships are confounded by trait variation within species. We test whether trait relationships extend to the cold extremes of life on Earth using the largest database of tundra plant traits yet compiled. We show that tundra plants demonstrate remarkably similar resource economic traits, but not size traits, compared to global distributions, and exhibit the same two dimensions of trait variation. Three quarters of trait variation occurs among species, mirroring global estimates of interspecific trait variation. Plant trait relationships are thus generalizable to the edge of global trait-space, informing prediction of plant community change in a warming world.
  • Ribeiro-Kumara, Christine; Pumpanen, Jukka; Heinonsalo, Jussi; Metslaid, Marek; Orumaa, Argo; Jõgiste, Kalev; Berninger, Frank; Köster, Kajar (2020)
    Fire is the most important natural disturbance in boreal forests, and it has a major role regulating the carbon (C) budget of these systems. With the expected increase in fire frequency, the greenhouse gas (GHG) budget of boreal forest soils may change. In order to understand the long-term nature of the soil–atmosphere GHG exchange after fire, we established a fire chronosequence representing successional stages at 8, 19, 34, 65, 76 and 179years following stand-replacing fires in hemiboreal Scots pine forests in Estonia. Changes in extracellular activity, litter decomposition, vegetation biomass, and soil physicochemical properties were assessed in relation to carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions. Soil temperature was highest 8years after fire, whereas soil moisture varied through the fire chronosequences without a consistent pattern. Litter decomposition and CO2 efflux were still lower 8years after fire compared with pre-fire levels (179years after fire). Both returned to pre-fire levels before vegetation re-established, and CO2 efflux was only strongly responsive to temperature from 19years after fire onward. Recovery of CO2 efflux in the long term was associated with a moderate effect of fire on enzyme activity, the input of above- and below-ground litter carbon, and the re-establishment of vegetation. Soil acted as a CH4 sink and N2O source similarly in all successional stages. Compared with soil moisture and time after fire, soil temperature was the most important predictor for both GHGs. The re-establishment of overstorey and vegetation cover (mosses and lichens) might have caused an increase in CH4 and N2O effluxes in the studied areas, respectively.
  • Barnes, Paul W.; Williamson, Craig E.; Lucas, Robyn M.; Robinson, Sharon A.; Madronich, Sasha; Paul, Nigel D.; Bornman, Janet F.; Bais, Alkiviadis F.; Sulzberger, Barbara; Wilson, Stephen R.; Andrady, Anthony L.; McKenzie, Richard L.; Neale, Patrick J.; Austin, Amy T.; Bernhard, Germar H.; Solomon, Keith R.; Neale, Rachel E.; Young, Paul J.; Norval, Mary; Rhodes, Lesley E.; Hylander, Samuel; Rose, Kevin C.; Longstreth, Janice; Aucamp, Pieter J.; Ballare, Carlos L.; Cory, Rose M.; Flint, Stephan D.; de Gruijl, Frank R.; Haeder, Donat-P; Heikkila, Anu M.; Jansen, Marcel A. K.; Pandey, Krishna K.; Robson, T. Matthew; Sinclair, Craig A.; Wangberg, Sten-Ake; Worrest, Robert C.; Yazar, Seyhan; Young, Antony R.; Zepp, Richard G. (2019)
    Changes in stratospheric ozone and climate over the past 40-plus years have altered the solar ultraviolet (UV) radiation conditions at the Earth's surface. Ozone depletion has also contributed to climate change across the Southern Hemisphere. These changes are interacting in complex ways to affect human health, food and water security, and ecosystem services. Many adverse effects of high UV exposure have been avoided thanks to the Montreal Protocol with its Amendments and Adjustments, which have effectively controlled the production and use of ozone-depleting substances. This international treaty has also played an important role in mitigating climate change. Climate change is modifying UV exposure and affecting how people and ecosystems respond to UV; these effects will become more pronounced in the future. The interactions between stratospheric ozone, climate and UV radiation will therefore shift over time; however, the Montreal Protocol will continue to have far-reaching benefits for human well-being and environmental sustainability.
  • Adamczyk, Bartosz; Sietio, Outi-Maaria; Strakova, Petra; Prommer, Judith; Wild, Birgit; Hagner, Marleena; Pihlatie, Mari; Fritze, Hannu; Richter, Andreas; Heinonsalo, Jussi (2019)
    Boreal forests are ecosystems with low nitrogen (N) availability that store globally significant amounts of carbon (C), mainly in plant biomass and soil organic matter (SOM). Although crucial for future climate change predictions, the mechanisms controlling boreal C and N pools are not well understood. Here, using a three-year field experiment, we compare SOM decomposition and stabilization in the presence of roots, with exclusion of roots but presence of fungal hyphae and with exclusion of both roots and fungal hyphae. Roots accelerate SOM decomposition compared to the root exclusion treatments, but also promote a different soil N economy with higher concentrations of organic soil N compared to inorganic soil N accompanied with the build-up of stable SOM-N. In contrast, root exclusion leads to an inorganic soil N economy (i.e., high level of inorganic N) with reduced stable SOM-N buildup. Based on our findings, we provide a framework on how plant roots affect SOM decomposition and stabilization.
  • Adamczyk, Bartosz; Adamczyk, Sylwia; Smolander, Aino; Kitunen, Veikko; Simon, Judy (2018)
    Processes underlying soil organic matter (SOM) transformations are meeting growing interest as SOM contains more carbon (C) than global vegetation and the atmosphere combined. Therefore, SOM is a crucial element of the C cycle, especially in ecosystems rich in organic matter, such as boreal forests. However, climate change may shift the fate of this SOM from C sink into C source, accelerating global warming. These processes require a better understanding of the involved mechanisms driving both the C cycle and the interlinked nitrogen (N) cycle. SOM transformations are balanced by a network of interactions between biological, chemical and physical factors. In this review, we discuss the findings of the most recent studies to the current state of knowledge about the main drivers in SOM transformations. We focus on plant-derived secondary metabolites, as their biochemical traits, especially interactions with soil microbial communities, organic N compounds and enzymes make them potential regulators of SOM decomposition. However, these regulatory abilities of plant-derived compounds are not fully explored.
  • Lappalainen, Mari; Palviainen, Marjo; Kukkonen, Jussi V. K.; Setälä, Heikki; Piirainen, Sirpa; Sarjala, Tytti; Koivusalo, Harri; Finer, Leena; Launiainen, Samuli; Lauren, Ari (2018)
    Terrestrial export of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) to watercourses has increased in boreal zone. Effect of decomposing material and soil food webs on the release rate and quality of DOC are poorly known. We quantified carbon (C) release in CO2, and DOC in different molecular weights from the most common organic soils in boreal zone; and explored the effect of soil type and enchytraeid worms on the release rates. Two types of mor and four types of peat were incubated in laboratory with and without enchytraeid worms for 154 days at + 15 A degrees C. Carbon was mostly released as CO2; DOC contributed to 2-9% of C release. The share of DOC was higher in peat than in mor. The release rate of CO2 was three times higher in mor than in highly decomposed peat. Enchytraeids enhanced the release of CO2 by 31-43% and of DOC by 46-77% in mor. High molecular weight fraction dominated the DOC release. Upscaling the laboratory results into catchment level allowed us to conclude that peatlands are the main source of DOC, low molecular weight DOC originates close to watercourse, and that enchytraeids substantially influence DOC leaching to watercourse and ultimately to aquatic CO2 emissions.
  • Musche, Martin; Adamescu, Mihai; Angelstam, Per; Bacher, Sven; Bäck, Jaana; Buss, Heather L.; Duffy, Christopher; Flaim, Giovanna; Gaillardet, Jerome; Giannakis, George V.; Haase, Peter; Halada, Luboš; Kissling, W. Daniel; Lundin, Lars; Matteucci, Giorgio; Meesenburg, Henning; Monteith, Don; Nikolaidis, Nikolaos P.; Pipan, Tanja; Pyšek, Petr; Rowe, Ed C.; Roy, David B.; Sier, Andrew; Tappeiner, Ulrike; Vilà, Montserrat; White, Tim; Zobel, Martin; Klotz, Stefan (2019)
    Distributed environmental research infrastructures are important to support assessments of the effects of global change on landscapes, ecosystems and society. These infrastructures need to provide continuity to address long-term change, yet be flexible enough to respond to rapid societal and technological developments that modify research priorities. We used a horizon scanning exercise to identify and prioritize emerging research questions for the future development of ecosystem and socio-ecological research infrastructures in Europe. Twenty research questions covered topics related to (i) ecosystem structures and processes, (ii) the impacts of anthropogenic drivers on ecosystems, (iii) ecosystem services and socio-ecological systems and (iv), methods and research infrastructures. Several key priorities for the development of research infrastructures emerged. Addressing complex environmental issues requires the adoption of a whole-system approach, achieved through integration of biotic, abiotic and socio-economic measurements. Interoperability among different research infrastructures needs to be improved by developing standard measurements, harmonizing methods, and establishing capacities and tools for data integration, processing, storage and analysis. Future research infrastructures should support a range of methodological approaches including observation, experiments and modelling. They should also have flexibility to respond to new requirements, for example by adjusting the spatio-temporal design of measurements. When new methods are introduced, compatibility with important long-term data series must be ensured. Finally, indicators, tools, and transdisciplinary approaches to identify, quantify and value ecosystem services across spatial scales and domains need to be advanced.
  • ClimMani Working Grp; Halbritter, Aud H.; De Boeck, Hans J.; Eycott, Amy E.; Reinsch, Sabine; Robinson, David A.; Vicca, Sara; Berauer, Bernd; Christiansen, Casper T.; Estiarte, Marc; Grunzweig, Jose M.; Gya, Ragnhild; Hansen, Karin; Jentsch, Anke; Lee, Hanna; Linder, Sune; Marshall, John; Penuelas, Josep; Schmidt, Inger Kappel; Stuart-Haentjens, Ellen; Wilfahrt, Peter; Vandvik, Vigdis; Macias-Fauria, Marc; Porcar-Castell, Albert; Mänd, Pille (2020)
    Climate change is a world-wide threat to biodiversity and ecosystem structure, functioning and services. To understand the underlying drivers and mechanisms, and to predict the consequences for nature and people, we urgently need better understanding of the direction and magnitude of climate change impacts across the soil-plant-atmosphere continuum. An increasing number of climate change studies are creating new opportunities for meaningful and high-quality generalizations and improved process understanding. However, significant challenges exist related to data availability and/or compatibility across studies, compromising opportunities for data re-use, synthesis and upscaling. Many of these challenges relate to a lack of an established 'best practice' for measuring key impacts and responses. This restrains our current understanding of complex processes and mechanisms in terrestrial ecosystems related to climate change. To overcome these challenges, we collected best-practice methods emerging from major ecological research networks and experiments, as synthesized by 115 experts from across a wide range of scientific disciplines. Our handbook contains guidance on the selection of response variables for different purposes, protocols for standardized measurements of 66 such response variables and advice on data management. Specifically, we recommend a minimum subset of variables that should be collected in all climate change studies to allow data re-use and synthesis, and give guidance on additional variables critical for different types of synthesis and upscaling. The goal of this community effort is to facilitate awareness of the importance and broader application of standardized methods to promote data re-use, availability, compatibility and transparency. We envision improved research practices that will increase returns on investments in individual research projects, facilitate second-order research outputs and create opportunities for collaboration across scientific communities. Ultimately, this should significantly improve the quality and impact of the science, which is required to fulfil society's needs in a changing world.
  • Zhou, Xuan; Sun, Hui; Pumpanen, Jukka; Sietiö, Outi-Maaria; Heinonsalo, Jussi; Köster, Kajar; Berninger, Frank (2019)
    Wildfires thaw near-surface permafrost soils in the boreal forest, making previously frozen organic matter available to microbes. The short-term microbial stoichiometric dynamics following a wildfire are critical to understanding the soil element variations in thawing permafrost. Thus, we selected a boreal wildfire chronosequence in a region of continuous permafrost, where the last wildfire occurred 3, 25, 46, and > 100 years ago (set as the control) to explore the impact of wildfire on the soil chemistry, soil microbial stoichiometry, and the fungal-to-bacterial gene ratio (F:B ratio). We observed the microbial biomass C:N:P ratio remained constant in distinct age classes indicating that microbes are homeostatic in relation to stoichiometric ratios. The microbial C:N ratios were independent of the shifts in the fungal-to-bacterial ratio when C:N exceeded 12. Wildfire-induced reduction in vegetation biomass positively affected the fungal, but not the bacterial, gene copy number. The decline in microbial biomass C, N, and P following a fire, primarily resulted from a lack of soil available C and nutrients. Wildfire affected neither the microbial biomass nor the F:B ratios at a soil depth of 30 cm. We conclude that microbial stoichiometry does not always respond to changes in the fungal-to-bacterial ratio and that wildfire-induced permafrost thawing does not accelerate microbial respiration.
  • Dyukarev, Egor; Zarov, Evgeny; Alekseychik, Pavel; Nijp, Jelmer; Filippova, Nina; Mammarella, Ivan; Filippov, Ilya; Bleuten, Wladimir; Khoroshavin, Vitaly; Ganasevich, Galina; Khoroshavin, Vitaly; Vesala, Timo; Lapshina, Elena (2021)
    The peatlands of the West Siberian Lowlands, comprising the largest pristine peatland area of the world, have not previously been covered by continuous measurement and monitoring programs. The response of peatlands to climate change occurs over several decades. This paper summarizes the results of peatland carbon balance studies collected over ten years at the Mukhrino field station (Mukhrino FS, MFS) operating in the Middle Taiga Zone of Western Siberia. A multiscale approach was applied for the investigations of peatland carbon cycling. Carbon dioxide fluxes at the local scale studied using the chamber method showed net accumulation with rates from 110, to 57.8 gC m(-2) at the Sphagnum hollow site. Net CO2 fluxes at the pine-dwarf shrubs-Sphagnum ridge varied from negative (-32.1 gC m(-2) in 2019) to positive (13.4 gC m(-2) in 2017). The cumulative May-August net ecosystem exchange (NEE) from eddy-covariance (EC) measurements at the ecosystem scale was -202 gC m(-2) in 2015, due to the impact of photosynthesis of pine trees which was not registered by the chamber method. The net annual accumulation of carbon in the live part of mosses was estimated at 24-190 gC m(-2) depending on the Sphagnum moss species. Long-term carbon accumulation rates obtained by radiocarbon analysis ranged from 28.5 to 57.2 gC m(-2) yr(-1), with local extremes of up to 176.2 gC m(-2) yr(-1). The obtained estimates of various carbon fluxes using EC and chamber methods, the accounting for Sphagnum growth and decomposition, and long-term peat accumulation provided information about the functioning of the peatland ecosystems at different spatial and temporal scales. Multiscale carbon flux monitoring reveals useful new information for forecasting the response of northern peatland carbon cycles to climatic changes.
  • Nutrient Network; Aakala, Tuomas; Makela, Annikki (2020)
    Plant traits-the morphological, anatomical, physiological, biochemical and phenological characteristics of plants-determine how plants respond to environmental factors, affect other trophic levels, and influence ecosystem properties and their benefits and detriments to people. Plant trait data thus represent the basis for a vast area of research spanning from evolutionary biology, community and functional ecology, to biodiversity conservation, ecosystem and landscape management, restoration, biogeography and earth system modelling. Since its foundation in 2007, the TRY database of plant traits has grown continuously. It now provides unprecedented data coverage under an open access data policy and is the main plant trait database used by the research community worldwide. Increasingly, the TRY database also supports new frontiers of trait-based plant research, including the identification of data gaps and the subsequent mobilization or measurement of new data. To support this development, in this article we evaluate the extent of the trait data compiled in TRY and analyse emerging patterns of data coverage and representativeness. Best species coverage is achieved for categorical traits-almost complete coverage for 'plant growth form'. However, most traits relevant for ecology and vegetation modelling are characterized by continuous intraspecific variation and trait-environmental relationships. These traits have to be measured on individual plants in their respective environment. Despite unprecedented data coverage, we observe a humbling lack of completeness and representativeness of these continuous traits in many aspects. We, therefore, conclude that reducing data gaps and biases in the TRY database remains a key challenge and requires a coordinated approach to data mobilization and trait measurements. This can only be achieved in collaboration with other initiatives.
  • Kotze, David Johan; Ghosh, Subhadip; Hui, Nan; Jumpponen, Ari; Lee, Benjamin P. Y-H; Lu, Changyi; Lum, Shawn; Pouyat, Richard; Szlavecz, Katalin; Wardle, David A.; Yesilonis, Ian; Zheng, Bangxiao; Setala, Heikki (2021)
    An increasingly urbanized world is one of the most prominent examples of global environmental change. Across the globe, urban parks are designed and managed in a similar way, resulting in visually pleasing expansions of lawn interspersed with individually planted trees of varying appearances and functional traits. These large urban greenspaces have the capacity to provide various ecosystem services, including those associated with soil physicochemical properties. Our aim was to explore whether soil properties in urban parks diverge underneath vegetation producing labile or recalcitrant litter, and whether the impact is affected by climatic zone (from a boreal to temperate to tropical city). We also compared these properties to those in (semi)natural forests outside the cities to assess the influence of urbanization on plant-trait effects. We showed that vegetation type affected percentage soil organic matter (OM), total carbon (C) and total nitrogen (N), but inconsistently across climatic zones. Plant-trait effects were particularly weak in old parks in the boreal and temperate zones, whereas in young parks in these zones, soils underneath the two tree types accumulated significantly more OM, C and N compared to lawns. Within climatic zones, anthropogenic drivers dominated natural ones, with consistently lower values of organic-matter-related soil properties under trees producing labile or recalcitrant litter in parks compared to forests. The dominating effect of urbanization is also reflected in its ability to homogenize soil properties in parks across the three cities, especially in lawn soils and soils under trees irrespective of functional trait. Our study demonstrates that soil functions that relate to carbon and nitrogen dynamics-even in old urban greenspaces where plant-soil interactions have a long history-clearly diverged from those in natural ecosystems, implying a long-lasting influence of anthropogenic drivers on soil ecosystem services.