|Table of Contents|

Effects of fine roots on the leaf litter decomposition of dominant tree species in mid-subtropical forests

Chinese Journal of Applied & Environmental Biology[ISSN:1006-687X/CN:51-1482/Q]

2019 03
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Effects of fine roots on the leaf litter decomposition of dominant tree species in mid-subtropical forests
HU Kai1 WANG Wei1 & TAO Jianping2**
1 Institute of Microbial Ecology, College of Forestry and Life Science, Chongqing University of Arts and Sciences, Yongchuan 402168, China 2 Key Laboratory of Eco-environments of Three Gorges Reservoir Region (Ministry of Education), Chongqing Key Laboratory of Plant Ecology and Resources of Three Gorges Reservoir Region, School of Life Science, Southwest University, Chongqing 400715, China
fine root leaf litter decomposition rate microbe mid-subtropical forest

To understand the influence of fine roots entering the litter layer on the decomposition of litter in the forest ecosystem, a simulation experiment using litterbags was conducted with the root system of Lolium multiflorum as the study object. The effects of living roots on the decomposition rate single and mixed leaf litters of dominant species of mid-subtropical forests were analyzed using the following species: Symplocos setchuensis, Elaeocarpus japonicus, Cinnamomum camphora, and Pinus massoniana. The results indicated that the biomass of the living roots penetrating the litterbags with various leaf litter differed significantly because of the litter quality (P < 0.001), and the fine roots in the litterbags of E. japonicus had the largest biomass at growth peak of the L. multiflorum (131.5 mg/bag). The litter quality, presence or absence of fine roots, and the interaction of the two had significant effects on the decomposition process. After 270 days of decomposition, the fine roots growing in the litter bag accelerated the decomposition of litter to some extent. The fine roots exhibited the largest contribution rate to the loss of the E. japonicus litter (57.78%), whereas the P. massoniana litter (6%) experienced the smallest contribution rate. The initial C/N ratio of litter significantly affected the relative contribution of fine roots to the litter mass loss. Considerable differences in the structure of bacterial and fungal communities on the surface of the leaf litter of the same type under the two root treatments were observed. Treatment with roots remarkably increased the diversity and quantity of bacterial communities, and the presence of fine roots and their absorption had synergistic effects on the mixed decomposition of the litter of three broad-leafed species. In summary, the biomass of fine roots entering the litter layer was related to the initial quality of the litter. The fine roots accelerate decomposition by altering the community structure of the litter surface decomposers and by actively regulating the nutrient requirements for their growth.


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Last Update: 2019-06-25