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Title

The importance of biotic factors in predicting global change effects on decomposition of temperate forest leaf litter

Publication Year

2010

Author(s)
  • Rouifed, Soraya
  • Handa, I. Tanya
  • David, Jean-Francois
  • Haettenschwiler, Stephan
Source
OECOLOGIA Volume: 163 Issue: 1 Pages: 247-256 Published: 2010
ISSN
0029-8549
Abstract

Increasing atmospheric CO(2) and temperature are predicted to alter litter decomposition via changes in litter chemistry and environmental conditions. The extent to which these predictions are influenced by biotic factors such as litter species composition or decomposer activity, and in particular how these different factors interact, is not well understood. In a 5-week laboratory experiment we compared the decomposition of leaf litter from four temperate tree species (Fagus sylvatica, Quercus petraea, Carpinus betulus and Tilia platyphyllos) in response to four interacting factors: elevated CO(2)-induced changes in litter quality, a 3A degrees C warmer environment during decomposition, changes in litter species composition, and presence/absence of a litter-feeding millipede (Glomeris marginata). Elevated CO(2) and temperature had much weaker effects on decomposition than litter species composition and the presence of Glomeris. Mass loss of elevated CO(2)-grown leaf litter was reduced in Fagus and increased in Fagus/Tilia mixtures, but was not affected in any other leaf litter treatment. Warming increased litter mass loss in Carpinus and Tilia, but not in the other two litter species and in none of the mixtures. The CO(2)- and temperature-related differences in decomposition disappeared completely when Glomeris was present. Overall, fauna activity stimulated litter mass loss, but to different degrees depending on litter species composition, with a particularly strong effect on Fagus/Tilia mixtures (+58%). Higher fauna-driven mass loss was not followed by higher C mineralization over the relatively short experimental period. Apart from a strong interaction between litter species composition and fauna, the tested factors had little or no interactive effects on decomposition. We conclude that if global change were to result in substantial shifts in plant community composition and macrofauna abundance in forest ecosystems, these interacting biotic factors could have greater impacts on decomposition and biogeochemical cycles than rising atmospheric CO(2) concentration and temperature.

Author Keyword(s)
  • Elevated carbon dioxide
  • Litter diversity
  • Litter quality
  • Saprophagous macrofauna
  • Temperature
KeyWord(s) Plus
  • AIR CO2 ENRICHMENT
  • ELEVATED CO2
  • GLOMERIS-MARGINATA
  • ATMOSPHERIC CO2
  • COMMUNITY COMPOSITION
  • NITROGEN DEPOSITION
  • SPECIES RICHNESS
  • SOIL
  • QUALITY
  • RATES
ESI Discipline(s)
  • Environment/Ecology
Web of Science Category(ies)
  • Ecology
Adress(es)

[Rouifed, Soraya; Handa, I. Tanya; David, Jean-Francois; Haettenschwiler, Stephan] CNRS, Ctr Ecol Fonct & Evolut, F-34293 Montpellier, France

Reprint Adress

Handa, IT (reprint author), CNRS, Ctr Ecol Fonct & Evolut, 1919 Route Mende, F-34293 Montpellier, France.

Country(ies)
  • France
CNRS - Adress(es)
  • Centre d'Ecologie Fonctionnelle et Evolutive (CEFE), UMR5175
Accession Number
WOS:000276615100024
uid:/GZB5FNKW
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