Coarse woody debris accelerates the decomposition of deadwood inputs across temperate forest

Mark A. Bradford* (Corresponding author), G. F. Ciska Veen, Ella M. Bradford, Kristofer R. Covey, Thomas W. Crowther, Nicholas Fields, Paul T. Frankson, Javier González-Rivero, Fiona V. Jevon, Sara E. Kuebbing, Steven McBride, Jacqueline E. Mohan, Emily E. Oldfield, Angela M. Oliverio, Alexander Polussa, Corinna Steinrueck, Michael S. Strickland, Elisabeth B. Ward, Carl Wepking, Daniel S. Maynard

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal/periodicalArticleScientificpeer-review

25 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Wood decomposition is regulated by multiple controls, including climate and wood traits, that vary at local to regional scales. Yet decomposition rates differ dramatically when these controls do not. Fungal community dynamics are often invoked to explain these differences, suggesting that knowledge of ecosystem properties that influence fungal communities will improve understanding and projection of wood decomposition. We hypothesize that deadwood inputs decompose faster in forests with higher stocks of downed coarse woody material (CWM) because CWM is a resource from which lignocellulolytic fungi rapidly colonize new inputs. To test this hypothesis, we measure decomposition of 1,116 pieces of fine woody material (FWM) of five species, incubated for 13 to 49 months at five locations spanning 10°-latitude in eastern U.S. forest. We place FWM pieces near and far from CWM across observational transects and experimental common gardens. Soil temperature positively affects location-level mean decomposition rates, but these among-location differences are smaller than within-location variation in decomposition. Some of this variability is caused by CWM, where FWM pieces next to CWM decompose more rapidly. These effects are greater with time of incubation and lower initial wood density of FWM. The effect size of CWM is of the same relative magnitude as for the known controls of temperature, deadwood density and diameter. Abundance data for CWM is available for many forests and hence may be an ecosystem variable amenable for inclusion in decomposition models. Our findings suggest that conservation efforts to rebuild depleted CWM stocks in temperate forests may accelerate decomposition of fresh deadwood inputs.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBiogeochemistry
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 08 May 2023

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Coarse woody debris accelerates the decomposition of deadwood inputs across temperate forest'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this