Home About Browse Search

Regulation of litter decomposition in forest ecosystems of Sweden and New Zealand

Jackson, Benjamin (2012). Regulation of litter decomposition in forest ecosystems of Sweden and New Zealand. Diss. (sammanfattning/summary) Umeå : Sveriges lantbruksuniv., Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae, 1652-6880 ; 2012:96
ISBN 978-91-576-7743-3
[Doctoral thesis]

[img] PDF


Litter decomposition is a core ecosystem process critical for carbon and nutrient cycling, and the functioning of terrestrial ecosystems. This thesis explores two contrasting ways by which plants can influence litter decomposition in forested ecosystems. The first half of the thesis examined the role of feather mosses in mediating the environmental conditions on the soil surface in boreal forests and the impact this has on litter decomposition. The feather moss layer intercepts much of the litterfall in boreal forests as well as retaining significant quantities of rainfall. The results showed that the pattern of moisture inputs to the moss layer was a major driver of litter decomposition and moss-associated cyanobacterial N2-fixation. Under conditions of limited moisture availability the mosses promoted the decomposition of leaf litter within the moss layer by preventing the desiccation of the litter, maintaining decomposer activity. In this way the effect of the moss layer was dependent on the prevailing moisture conditions. Further, the results showed that the moss layer promoted the decomposition of intercepted leaf litter to a similar extent across all stages of a 360-year successional gradient, despite a large increase in the depth of the moss layer and changing ecosystem properties. The second half of the thesis investigated two poorly explored aspects of the relationships between plant functional traits, litter quality and litter decomposition in temperate rain forests in New Zealand. The results showed that the decomposition of leaf, twig and wood litter of 27 co-occurring tree species was uncoordinated. This lack of coordination occurred because wood decomposition was driven by differences in the wood density of trees, which itself was unrelated to the chemical traits driving the decomposition of leaf and twig litter. The results also revealed a high degree of intraspecific variation in the leaf functional traits and leaf litter decomposition of 16 co-occurring plant species. Within species, leaf traits varied predictably in response to a soil nutrient gradient but were not related to the variations in decomposition. Overall, the results of this thesis illustrate the important and contrasting impacts that plants can have on litter decomposition, and contributes to the understanding of the complex interactions between multiple factors that regulate litter decomposition in forest ecosystems.

Authors/Creators:Jackson, Benjamin
Title:Regulation of litter decomposition in forest ecosystems of Sweden and New Zealand
Series Name/Journal:Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae
Year of publishing :8 November 2012
Number of Pages:52
I.Jackson B.G., Martin P., Nilsson M-C. & Wardle, D.A. (2011). Response of feather moss associated N2-fixation and litter decomposition to variations in simulated rainfall intensity and frequency. Oikos vol 120(4), 570-581.
II.Jackson B.G., Nilsson M-C. & Wardle, D.A. The effects of the moss layer on the decomposition of intercepted vascular plant litter across a post-fire boreal forest chronosequence. Submitted manuscript.
III.Jackson B.G., Peltzer D.A. & Wardle, D.A. (2012). Are functional traits and litter decomposability coordinated across leaf, twig and wood tissues? A test using temperate rainforest tree species. Oikos In press doi:10.1111/j.1600-0706.2012.00056.x
IV.Jackson B.G., Peltzer D.A. & Wardle, D.A. The within-species leaf economic spectrum does not predict intraspecific leaf litter decomposition, nor improves the power of community trait measures to predict decomposition. Manuscript.
Place of Publication:Umeå
Publisher:Institutionen för skogens ekologi och skötsel, Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet
ISBN for printed version:978-91-576-7743-3
Publication Type:Doctoral thesis
Full Text Status:Public
Agris subject categories.:F Plant production > F40 Plant ecology
Subjects:(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 1 Natural sciences > 106 Biological Sciences (Medical to be 3 and Agricultural to be 4) > Ecology
Agrovoc terms:boreal forests, temperate rain forests , forest litter, degradation, bryophyta, deadwood
Keywords:boreal forest, temperate rain forest, litter decomposition, feather moss, succession, plant functional traits, coarse woody debris, intraspecific variation
Permanent URL:
ID Code:9227
Department:(S) > Dept. of Forest Ecology and Management
Deposited By: Mr Benjamin G. Jackson
Deposited On:09 Nov 2012 09:48
Metadata Last Modified:02 Dec 2014 10:53

Repository Staff Only: item control page


Downloads per year (since September 2012)

View more statistics