Leaf habit of tree species does not strongly predict leaf litter decomposition but alters climate-decomposition relationships

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Ge , J , Berg , B & Xie , Z 2017 , ' Leaf habit of tree species does not strongly predict leaf litter decomposition but alters climate-decomposition relationships ' , Plant and Soil , vol. 419 , no. 1-2 , pp. 363-376 . https://doi.org/10.1007/s11104-017-3353-3

Title: Leaf habit of tree species does not strongly predict leaf litter decomposition but alters climate-decomposition relationships
Author: Ge, Jielin; Berg, Bjorn; Xie, Zongqiang
Contributor organization: Department of Forest Sciences
Date: 2017-10
Language: eng
Number of pages: 14
Belongs to series: Plant and Soil
ISSN: 0032-079X
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11104-017-3353-3
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/310153
Abstract: Leaf habit of tree species (evergreen versus deciduous) is proposed to be an important determinant of leaf litter decomposition, but it remains largely understudied as to how climatic regulation of litter decomposition differs between leaf habits. We isolated the relative role of climate and leaf habit in leaf litter decomposition by investigating the latitudinal pattern of leaf litter decomposition for Chinese broad-leaved tree species. Litter decomposition rate decreased with latitude, which was largely driven by mean annual temperature (MAT). Evergreen and deciduous broad-leaved tree species shared similar decomposition rate where they coexisted. Leaf litter decomposition of evergreen broad-leaved tree species was more sensitive to MAT than that of the deciduous species, whereas leaf litter decomposition of the deciduous trees was more sensitive than that of the evergreen to mean annual precipitation. Climatic variables explained more variation in leaf litter decomposition than did leaf habit alone. Our findings support the conventional paradigm that climate is a dominant regulator of leaf litter decomposition over broad geographical scales, notwithstanding recent studies calling into question this paradigm. While leaf habit alone does not predict leaf litter decomposition very well where both evergreen and deciduous species coexisted, the direction and strength of shift in leaf litter decomposition diverged between leaf habits across the climatic gradient. These findings underscore the urgent need to consider the impacts of changes in leaf habits when predicting leaf litter decomposition in response to climate change.
Subject: Evergreenness
Mean annual temperature
Nutrient cycling
Leaf life span
Broad-leaved forests ecosystems
PLANT FUNCTIONAL TYPE
BROAD-LEAVED FOREST
TROPICAL FORESTS
TERRESTRIAL ECOSYSTEMS
LATITUDINAL GRADIENT
ECONOMICS SPECTRUM
ELEVATION GRADIENT
DECIDUOUS TREES
MIXED FOREST
DECAY-RATES
1183 Plant biology, microbiology, virology
4112 Forestry
Peer reviewed: Yes
Usage restriction: openAccess
Self-archived version: acceptedVersion


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