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Factors controlling decomposition rates of fine root litter in temperate forests and grasslands

MPG-Autoren
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Solly,  Emily
Department Biogeochemical Processes, Prof. S. E. Trumbore, Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Max Planck Society;
IMPRS International Max Planck Research School for Global Biogeochemical Cycles, Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry , Max Planck Society;

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Schöning,  Ingo
Soil and Ecosystem Processes, Dr. M. Schrumpf, Department Biogeochemical Processes, Prof. S. E. Trumbore, Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Max Planck Society;

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Zscheischler,  Jakob
Empirical Inference of the Earth System, Dr. Miguel D. Mahecha, Department Biogeochemical Integration, Dr. M. Reichstein, Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Max Planck Society;
IMPRS International Max Planck Research School for Global Biogeochemical Cycles, Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry , Max Planck Society;

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Trumbore,  Susan E.
Department Biogeochemical Processes, Prof. S. E. Trumbore, Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Max Planck Society;

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Schrumpf,  Marion
Soil and Ecosystem Processes, Dr. M. Schrumpf, Department Biogeochemical Processes, Prof. S. E. Trumbore, Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Max Planck Society;
Soil Processes, Dr. Marion Schrumpf, Department Biogeochemical Integration, Dr. M. Reichstein, Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Max Planck Society;

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Zitation

Solly, E., Schöning, I., Boch, S., Kandeler, E., Marhan, S., Michalzik, B., et al. (2014). Factors controlling decomposition rates of fine root litter in temperate forests and grasslands. Plant and Soil, 382, 203-218. doi:10.1007/s11104-014-2151-4.


Zitierlink: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0019-7867-3
Zusammenfassung
Background and aims Fine root decomposition contributes significantly to element cycling in terrestrial ecosystems. However, studies on root decomposition rates and on the factors that potentially influence them are fewer than those on leaf litter decomposition. To study the effects of region and land use intensity on fine root decomposition, we established a large scale study in three German regions with different climate regimes and soil properties. Methods In 150 forest and 150 grassland sites we deployed litterbags (100 μm mesh size) with standardized litter consisting of fine roots from European beech in forests and from a lowland mesophilous hay meadow in grasslands. In the central study region, we compared decomposition rates of this standardized litter with root litter collected on-site to separate the effect of litter quality from environmental factors. Results Standardized herbaceous roots in grassland soils decomposed on average significantly faster (24± 6 % mass loss after 12 months, mean ± SD) than beech roots in forest soils (12±4 %; p<0.001). Fine root decomposition varied among the three study regions. Land use intensity, in particular N addition, decreased fine root decomposition in grasslands. The initial lignin:N ratio explained 15 % of the variance in grasslands and 11 % in forests. Soil moisture, soil temperature, and C:N ratios of soils together explained 34 % of the variance of the fine root mass loss in grasslands, and 24 % in forests. Conclusions Grasslands, which have higher fine root biomass and root turnover compared to forests, also have higher rates of root decomposition. Our results further show that at the regional scale fine root decomposition is influenced by environmental variables such as soil moisture, soil temperature and soil nutrient content. Additional variation is explained by root litter quality.