Header

UZH-Logo

Maintenance Infos

Positive effects of tree species diversity on litterfall quantity and quality along a secondary successional chronosequence in a subtropical forest


Huang, Yuanyuan; Ma, Yinlei; Zhao, Ke; Niklaus, Pascal A; Schmid, Bernhard; He, Jin-Sheng (2017). Positive effects of tree species diversity on litterfall quantity and quality along a secondary successional chronosequence in a subtropical forest. Journal of Plant Ecology, 10(1):28-35.

Abstract

Aims
Litterfall, as an important link between aboveground and belowground processes, plays a key role in forest ecosystems. Here, we test for effects of tree species richness on litter production and litter quality in subtropical forest. The study further encompasses a factorial gradient of secondary succession that resulted from human exploitation. Given that a large percentage of subtropical forests are in secondary successional stages, understanding the role of biodiversity on forest re-growth after disturbance appears critical.
Methods
From January 2009 to December 2014, we monitored forest litterfall in 27 Comparative Study Plots that spanned a gradient of tree species richness (3–20 species) and secondary successional ages (~20 to 120 years) in Gutianshan Natural Nature Reserve, Zhejiang Province, China. The experiment is part of the biodiversity–ecosystem functioning research platform ‘BEF-China’. Tree litterfall was collected in monthly intervals using litter traps. Samples were separated into leaf and non-leaf components. Leaf litter was further sorted into dominant and other species. Community level monthly leaf litter C and N contents were analysed through a full year. General linear mixed-effects models were applied to test for effects of tree species richness and successional age on litter quantity and leaf litter C/N.
Important Findings
Litterfall increased with species richness among and within successional age and this effect was consistent across years. Successionally older stands had higher litterfall and this effect was related to increased tree species richness. However, species richness did not change the intra- and inter-annual temporal stability of litterfall. Increasing tree species richness increased leaf litter quality (decreased C/N), while successional age had no effect. Our study indicates that more diverse forest stands produce more leaf litter and that this litter has higher N concentrations, which could promote forest growth through accelerated nutrient re-cycling.

Abstract

Aims
Litterfall, as an important link between aboveground and belowground processes, plays a key role in forest ecosystems. Here, we test for effects of tree species richness on litter production and litter quality in subtropical forest. The study further encompasses a factorial gradient of secondary succession that resulted from human exploitation. Given that a large percentage of subtropical forests are in secondary successional stages, understanding the role of biodiversity on forest re-growth after disturbance appears critical.
Methods
From January 2009 to December 2014, we monitored forest litterfall in 27 Comparative Study Plots that spanned a gradient of tree species richness (3–20 species) and secondary successional ages (~20 to 120 years) in Gutianshan Natural Nature Reserve, Zhejiang Province, China. The experiment is part of the biodiversity–ecosystem functioning research platform ‘BEF-China’. Tree litterfall was collected in monthly intervals using litter traps. Samples were separated into leaf and non-leaf components. Leaf litter was further sorted into dominant and other species. Community level monthly leaf litter C and N contents were analysed through a full year. General linear mixed-effects models were applied to test for effects of tree species richness and successional age on litter quantity and leaf litter C/N.
Important Findings
Litterfall increased with species richness among and within successional age and this effect was consistent across years. Successionally older stands had higher litterfall and this effect was related to increased tree species richness. However, species richness did not change the intra- and inter-annual temporal stability of litterfall. Increasing tree species richness increased leaf litter quality (decreased C/N), while successional age had no effect. Our study indicates that more diverse forest stands produce more leaf litter and that this litter has higher N concentrations, which could promote forest growth through accelerated nutrient re-cycling.

Statistics

Citations

Dimensions.ai Metrics
11 citations in Web of Science®
11 citations in Scopus®
12 citations in Microsoft Academic
Google Scholar™

Altmetrics

Downloads

9 downloads since deposited on 22 Feb 2018
9 downloads since 12 months
Detailed statistics

Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Language:English
Date:2017
Deposited On:22 Feb 2018 14:20
Last Modified:24 Mar 2018 06:27
Publisher:Oxford University Press
ISSN:1752-9921
Additional Information:This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in Journal of Plant Ecology following peer review. The definitive publisher-authenticated version Journal of Plant Ecology, Volume 10, Issue 1, 1 February 2017, Pages 28–35 is available online at: https://doi.org/10.1093/jpe/rtw115
OA Status:Hybrid
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1093/jpe/rtw115

Download

Download PDF  'Positive effects of tree species diversity on litterfall quantity and quality along a secondary successional chronosequence in a subtropical forest'.
Preview
Content: Accepted Version
Filetype: PDF
Size: 2MB
View at publisher