Browsing by Subject "PLANT LITTER"

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  • Sun, Tao; Hobbie, Sarah E.; Berg, Björn; Zhang, Hongguang; Wang, Qingkui; Wang, Zhengwen; Hättenschwiler, Stephan (2018)
    Decomposition is a key component of the global carbon (C) cycle, yet current ecosystem C models do not adequately represent the contributions of plant roots and their mycorrhizae to this process. The understanding of decomposition dynamics and their control by traits is particularly limited for the most distal first-order roots. Here we followed decomposition of first-order roots and leaf litter from 35 woody plant species differing in mycorrhizal type over 6 years in a Chinese temperate forest. First-order roots decomposed more slowly (k = 0.11 +/- 0.01 years(-1)) than did leaf litter (0.35 +/- 0.02 years(-1)), losing only 35% of initial mass on average after 6 years of exposure in the field. In contrast to leaf litter, nonlignin root C chemistry (nonstructural carbohydrates, polyphenols) accounted for 82% of the large interspecific variation in first-order root decomposition. Leaf litter from ectomycorrhizal (EM) species decomposed more slowly than that from arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) species, whereas first-order roots of EM species switched, after 2 years, from having slower to faster decomposition compared with those from AM species. The fundamentally different dynamics and control mechanisms of first-order root decomposition compared with those of leaf litter challenge current ecosystem C models, the recently suggested dichotomy between EM and AM plants, and the idea that common traits can predict decomposition across roots and leaves. Aspects of C chemistry unrelated to lignin or nitrogen, and not presently considered in decomposition models, controlled first-order root decomposition; thus, current paradigms of ecosystem C dynamics and model parameterization require revision.
  • Pieristè, Marta; Chauvat, Matthieu; Kotilainen, Titta K.; Jones, Alan G.; Aubert, Michaël; Robson, T. Matthew; Forey, Estelle (2019)
    Sunlight can accelerate the decomposition process through an ensemble of direct and indirect processes known as photodegradation. Although photodegradation is widely studied in arid environments, there have been few studies in temperate regions. This experiment investigated how exposure to solar radiation, and specifically UV-B, UV-A, and blue light, affects leaf litter decomposition under a temperate forest canopy in France. For this purpose, we employed custom-made litterbags built using filters that attenuated different regions of the solar spectrum. Litter mass loss and carbon to nitrogen (C:N) ratio of three species: European ash (Fraxinus excelsior), European beech (Fagus sylvatica) and pedunculate oak (Quercus robur), differing in their leaf traits and decomposition rate, were analysed over a period of 7–10 months. Over the entire period, the effect of treatments attenuating blue light and solar UV radiation on leaf litter decomposition was similar to that of our dark treatment, where litter lost 20–30% less mass and had a lower C:N ratio than under the full-spectrum treatment. Moreover, decomposition was affected more by the filter treatment than mesh size, which controlled access by mesofauna. The effect of filter treatment differed among the three species and appeared to depend on litter quality (and especially C:N), producing the greatest effect in recalcitrant litter (F. sylvatica). Even under the reduced irradiance found in the understorey of a temperate forest, UV radiation and blue light remain important in accelerating surface litter decomposition.
  • Wang, Qing-Wei; Pieriste, Marta; Liu, Chenggang; Kenta, Tanaka; Robson, Thomas Matthew; Kurokawa, Hiroko (2021)
    Litter decomposition determines carbon (C) backflow to the atmosphere and ecosystem nutrient cycling. Although sunlight provides the indispensable energy for terrestrial biogeochemical processes, the role of photodegradation in decomposition has been relatively neglected in productive mesic ecosystems. To quantify the effects of this variation, we conducted a factorial experiment in the understorey of a temperate deciduous forest and an adjacent gap, using spectral-attenuation-filter treatments. Exposure to the full spectrum of sunlight increased decay rates by nearly 120% and the effect of blue light contributed 75% of this increase. Scaled-up to the whole forest ecosystem, this translates to 13% loss of leaf-litter C through photodegradation over the year of our study for a scenario of 20% gap. Irrespective of the spectral composition, herbaceous and shrub litter lost mass faster than tree litter, with photodegradation contributing the most to surface litter decomposition in forest canopy gaps. Across species, the initial litter lignin and polyphenolic contents predicted photodegradation by blue light and ultraviolet B (UV-B) radiation, respectively. We concluded that photodegradation, modulated by litter quality, is an important driver of decomposition, not just in arid areas, but also in mesic ecosystems such as temperate deciduous forests following gap opening.
  • Pieristè, Marta; Neimane, Santa; Solanki, Twinkle; Nybakken, Line; Jones, Alan G.; Forey, Estelle; Chauvat, Matthieu; Ņečajeva, Jevgenija; Robson, T Matthew (2020)
    Depending on the environment, sunlight can positively or negatively affect litter decomposition, through the ensemble of direct and indirect processes constituting photodegradation. Which of these processes predominate depends on the ecosystem studied and on the spectral composition of sunlight received. To examine the relevance of photodegradation for litter decomposition in forest understoreys, we filtered ultraviolet radiation (UV) and blue light from leaves of Fagus sylvatica and Bettda pendula at two different stages of senescence in both a controlled-environment experiment and outdoors in four different forest stands (Picea abies, Pagus sylvatica, Acer platanoides, Betula pendula). Controlling for leaf orientation and initial differences in leaf chlorophyll and flavonol concentrations; we measured mass loss at the end of each experiment and characterised the phenolic profile of the leaf litter following photodegradation. In most forest stands, less mass was lost from decomposing leaves that received solar UV radiation compared with those under UV-attenuating filters, while in the controlled environment UV-A radiation either slightly accelerated or had no significant effect on photodegradation, according to species identity. Only a few individual phenolic compounds were affected by our different filter treatments, but photodegradation did affect the phenolic profile. We can conclude that photodegradation has a small stand- and species-specific effect on the decomposition of surface leaf litter in forest understoreys during the winter following leaf fall in southern Finland. Photodegradation was wavelength-dependent and modulated by the canopy species filtering sunlight and likely creating different combinations of spectral composition, moisture, temperature and snowpack characteristics.