Elevated CO2 reduces field decomposition rates of betula-pendula (roth) leaf-litter.

Cotrufo, M. F. and Ineson, Paul (1996) Elevated CO2 reduces field decomposition rates of betula-pendula (roth) leaf-litter. Oecologia, 106 (4). pp. 525-530. ISSN 0029-8549

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The effect of elevated atmospheric CO2 and nutrient supply on elemental composition and decomposition rates of tree leaf litter was studied using litters derived from birch (Betula pendula Roth.) plants grown under two levels of atmospheric CO2 (ambient and ambient +250 ppm) and two nutrient regimes in solar domes. CO2 and nutrient treatments affected the chemical composition of leaves, both independently and interactively. The elevated CO2 and unfertilized soil regime significantly enhanced lignin/N and C/N ratios of birch leaves. Decomposition was studied using field litter-bags, and marked differences were observed in the decomposition rates of litters derived from the two treatments, with the highest weight remaining being associated with litter derived from the enhanced CO2 and unfertilized regime. Highly significant correlations were shown between birch litter decomposition rates and lignin/N and C/N ratios. It can be concluded, from this study, that at levels of atmospheric CO2 predicted for the middle of the next century a deterioration of litter quality will result in decreased decomposition rates, leading to reduction of nutrient mineralization and increased C storage in forest ecosystems. However, such conclusions are difficult to generalize, since tree responses to elevated CO2 depend on soil nutritional status.

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17 Feb 2009 11:29
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21 Nov 2022 18:55