There is a positive correlation between leaf and root decomposition across species, both in a warm-temperate forest in Japan, as well as globally.
Evaluating the effects of plant species traits on litter decomposition would increase our understanding of plant–soil feedbacks in forest ecosystems. Currently, an assessment of a possible coordination between leaf and root decomposition across different species is required. However, previous studies have generated conflicting results. We hypothesized that such inconsistencies may be attributed to differences in local climatic effects on the decomposition process. We focused on the linkages between leaf and fine-root decomposition of woody species in a warm-temperate forest, which have not been addressed in previous studies. We found a significant positive correlation between leaf and root decomposition, and this linkage may be attributed to a wider range of decomposition rates across the species in our study forest. Additionally, we combined our data with those of previous studies of woody species to infer a global linkage in the decomposition process between leaves and roots. We found a positive correlation in decomposition rates between leaves and roots at the global scale, as well as a relatively strong correlation in warmer regions. These results support the importance of litter quality on biogeochemical processes and suggest that synergetic interactions between climate and plant communities could be amplified in a warmer future.
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Author contribution statement
SF and NM designed and conducted the experiment. SF and ASM analyzed the data. SF and ASM wrote the manuscript with critical inputs from NM and HT.
We thank Dr. Noriyuki Osada, Ms. Ayumi Kawamura Ms. Shoko Oguchi, and the staff of the Kamigamo Experimental Station, Field Science Education and Research Center of Kyoto University for their support of this study. This study was supported by the Fujiwara Natural History Foundation and by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) Grant-in-Aid for Young Scientists (No. 25850115 to S.F.). We thank Dr. Ulrich Lüttge, guest Editor and anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
Communicated by T. Koike and K. Noguchi.
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Fujii, S., Makita, N., Mori, A.S. et al. A stronger coordination of litter decomposability between leaves and fine roots for woody species in a warmer region. Trees 30, 395–404 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00468-015-1221-4
- Biogeochemical cycles
- Climatic control
- Plant–soil feedback
- Warm-temperate forest