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Leaf-litter overyielding in a forest biodiversity experiment in subtropical China


Huang, Yuanyuan; Ma, Keping; Niklaus, Pascal A; Schmid, Bernhard (2018). Leaf-litter overyielding in a forest biodiversity experiment in subtropical China. Forest Ecosystems, 5:38.

Abstract

Background The production and subsequent turnover of aboveground litter is an important process in the ecosystem carbon (C) cycle. Litterfall links above- and belowground processes by transferring organic material to the soil where it becomes available to heterotrophs, fueling nutrient cycling. Little is known about how litter fluxes respond to experimental manipulation of tree species richness. Methods We sampled litterfall in a large-scale forest biodiversity experiment in subtropical China. Litter was collected at monthly intervals during peak senescing season for two years and throughout the whole year in 2016, using 0.75 m × 0.75 m litter traps, in plots with a tree species richness of 1, 2, 4, 8 and 16 species. Results Cumulated annual litter production increased with tree species richness from an average of 1.96 ± 0.25 Mg∙ha− 1∙yr.− 1 in monocultures to 4.39 ± 1.15 Mg∙ha− 1∙yr.− 1 in 16-species mixtures. At site B, the doubling of species richness resulted in a positive effect with peak litter production increasing from 0.09 Mg∙ha− 1 when trees were 5 years old in 2015, to 0.14 Mg∙ha− 1 in 2016. The intra-annual distribution of litter production varied strongly among species, leading to a larger community niche for seasonal distribution of litter in species-rich than in species-poor plots. Community-niche size was positively correlated with litter production, thus providing an explanation for the species richness effects. Conclusions Different species had complementary temporal dynamics of litterfall, which led to a more or less constant litter supply in species-rich stands over the whole year. This caused positive richness effects on litter production which in turn may positively affect mineralization and subsequent tree growth. Keywords BEF-China Temporal complementarity effects Litterfall Overyielding Species richness

Abstract

Background The production and subsequent turnover of aboveground litter is an important process in the ecosystem carbon (C) cycle. Litterfall links above- and belowground processes by transferring organic material to the soil where it becomes available to heterotrophs, fueling nutrient cycling. Little is known about how litter fluxes respond to experimental manipulation of tree species richness. Methods We sampled litterfall in a large-scale forest biodiversity experiment in subtropical China. Litter was collected at monthly intervals during peak senescing season for two years and throughout the whole year in 2016, using 0.75 m × 0.75 m litter traps, in plots with a tree species richness of 1, 2, 4, 8 and 16 species. Results Cumulated annual litter production increased with tree species richness from an average of 1.96 ± 0.25 Mg∙ha− 1∙yr.− 1 in monocultures to 4.39 ± 1.15 Mg∙ha− 1∙yr.− 1 in 16-species mixtures. At site B, the doubling of species richness resulted in a positive effect with peak litter production increasing from 0.09 Mg∙ha− 1 when trees were 5 years old in 2015, to 0.14 Mg∙ha− 1 in 2016. The intra-annual distribution of litter production varied strongly among species, leading to a larger community niche for seasonal distribution of litter in species-rich than in species-poor plots. Community-niche size was positively correlated with litter production, thus providing an explanation for the species richness effects. Conclusions Different species had complementary temporal dynamics of litterfall, which led to a more or less constant litter supply in species-rich stands over the whole year. This caused positive richness effects on litter production which in turn may positively affect mineralization and subsequent tree growth. Keywords BEF-China Temporal complementarity effects Litterfall Overyielding Species richness

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
Dewey Decimal Classification:910 Geography & travel
Uncontrolled Keywords:Plant Science, Ecology, Forestry, Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
Language:English
Date:1 December 2018
Deposited On:11 Jan 2019 10:59
Last Modified:26 May 2019 06:01
Publisher:SpringerOpen
ISSN:2197-5620
OA Status:Gold
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1186/s40663-018-0157-8
Project Information:
  • : FunderFP7
  • : Grant ID608422
  • : Project TitleIDP BRIDGES - IDP Bridging Plant Science and Policy

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