Soil nutrient dissimilarity and litter nutrient limitation as major drivers of home field advantage in riparian tropical forests

Rebeca Leme Oliva, G. F. (Ciska) Veen, Marcel Okamoto Tanaka* (Corresponding author)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal/periodicalArticleScientificpeer-review


Decomposition is a key process driving carbon and nutrient cycling in ecosystems worldwide. The home field advantage effect (HFA) has been found to accelerate decomposition rates when litter originates from “home” when compared to other (“away”) sites. It is still poorly known how HFA plays out in tropical, riparian forests, particularly in forests under restoration. We carried out three independent reciprocal litter transplant experiments to test how litter quality, soil nutrient concentrations, and successional stage (age) influenced HFA in tropical riparian forests. These experimental areas formed a wide gradient of soil and litter nutrients, which we used to evaluate the more general hypothesis that HFA varies with dissimilarity in soil nutrients and litter quality. We found that HFA increased with soil nutrient dissimilarity, suggesting that litter translocation uncouples relationships between decomposers and litter characteristics; and with litter N:P, indicating P limitation in this system. We also found negative HFA effects at a site under restoration that presented low decomposer ability, suggesting that forest restoration does not necessarily recover decomposer communities and nutrient cycling. Within each of the independent experiments, the occurrence of HFA effects was limited and their magnitude was not related to forest age, nor soil and litter quality. Our results imply that HFA effects in tropical ecosystems are influenced by litter nutrient limitation and soil nutrient dissimilarity between home and away sites, but to further disentangle major HFA drivers in tropical areas, a gradient of dissimilarity between litter and soil properties must be implemented in future experimental designs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)628-638
Number of pages11
Issue number3
Early online date13 Mar 2023
Publication statusPublished - May 2023


  • decomposer ability
  • forest restoration
  • litter decomposition
  • litter matrix
  • litter quality


Dive into the research topics of 'Soil nutrient dissimilarity and litter nutrient limitation as major drivers of home field advantage in riparian tropical forests'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this