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Appears in Collections:Biological and Environmental Sciences Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Tree species diversity affects decomposition through modified micro-environmental conditions across European forests
Author(s): Joly, Francois-Xavier
Milcu, Alexandru
Scherer-Lorenzen, Michael
Jean, Loreline-Katia
Bussotti, Filippo
Dawud, Seid Muhie
Muller, Sandra
Pollastrini, Martina
Raulund-Rasmussen, Karsten
Vesterdal, Lars
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Keywords: cellulose decomposition
decomposition environment
litter functional diversity
litter functional traits
litter quality
species richness
wood decomposition
Issue Date: May-2017
Citation: Joly F, Milcu A, Scherer-Lorenzen M, Jean L, Bussotti F, Dawud SM, Muller S, Pollastrini M, Raulund-Rasmussen K & Vesterdal L (2017) Tree species diversity affects decomposition through modified micro-environmental conditions across European forests, New Phytologist, 214 (3), pp. 1281-1293.
Abstract: * Different tree species influence litter decomposition directly through species-specific litter traits, and indirectly through distinct modifications of the local decomposition environment. Whether these indirect effects on decomposition are influenced by tree species diversity is presently not clear.  * We addressed this question by studying the decomposition of two common substrates, cellulose paper and wood sticks, in a total of 209 forest stands of varying tree species diversity across six major forest types at the scale of Europe.  * Tree species richness showed a weak but positive correlation with the decomposition of cellulose but not with that of wood. Surprisingly, macroclimate had only a minor effect on cellulose decomposition and no effect on wood decomposition despite the wide range in climatic conditions among sites from Mediterranean to boreal forests. Instead, forest canopy density and stand-specific litter traits affected the decomposition of both substrates, with a particularly clear negative effect of the proportion of evergreen tree litter.  * Our study suggests that species richness and composition of tree canopies modify decomposition indirectly through changes in microenvironmental conditions. These canopy-induced differences in the local decomposition environment control decomposition to a greater extent than continental-scale differences in macroclimatic conditions.
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