Effects of diversity, climate and litter on soil organic carbon storage in subtropical forests

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  • Yin Li, Sanming University, Chinese Academy of Sciences
  • ,
  • Xiaojuan Liu, Chinese Academy of Sciences
  • ,
  • Wubing Xu
  • Franca J. Bongers, Chinese Academy of Sciences
  • ,
  • Weikai Bao, Chinese Academy of Sciences
  • ,
  • Bin Chen, Shanghai Chenshan Botanical Garden
  • ,
  • Guoke Chen, Chinese Academy of Sciences
  • ,
  • Ke Guo, Chinese Academy of Sciences
  • ,
  • Jiangshan Lai, Chinese Academy of Sciences
  • ,
  • Dunmei Lin, Chongqing University
  • ,
  • Xiangcheng Mi, Chinese Academy of Sciences
  • ,
  • Xingjun Tian, Nanjing University
  • ,
  • Xihua Wang, East China Normal University
  • ,
  • Junhua Yan, Chinese Academy of Sciences
  • ,
  • Bo Yang, Jingdezhen University
  • ,
  • Yuanrun Zheng, Chinese Academy of Sciences
  • ,
  • Keping Ma, Chinese Academy of Sciences

Tropical and subtropical forest ecosystems play an important role in the global carbon regulation. Although positive relationships between biodiversity and soil organic carbon (SOC) storage have been found in experimental grasslands, biodiversity effects on SOC storage in natural forests remain debated. Based on a large dataset from 523 forest inventory plots across subtropical forests in China, we tested the relationship between biodiversity and SOC storage and examined whether environmental conditions (temperature, precipitation, soil properties) and litter quantity (leaf litter and root biomass) and quality (leaf litter carbon to nitrogen ratio [leaf litter C/N]) had effects on SOC storage. Furthermore, we used linear mixed-effects models to test the relative effects of biodiversity, environmental conditions, and litter quantity and quality on SOC storage. We used structural equation models to test how these variables directly or indirectly affected SOC storage. We found that species diversity, together with climatic factors (mean annual temperature and mean annual precipitation), leaf litter C/N and root biomass determined SOC storage in subtropical forests at a large spatial scale. SOC storage was most strongly affected by climatic factors, followed by leaf litter C/N. Species diversity had both direct and indirect (through root biomass and leaf litter C/N) effects on SOC storage after accounting for environmental conditions. We also found that the positive diversity–SOC storage relationships were stronger in low and medium mean annual precipitation. Our findings highlight that higher species diversity can lead to higher SOC storage and therefore the conservation of biodiversity could play an important role in climate change mitigation.

OriginalsprogEngelsk
Artikelnummer118479
TidsskriftForest Ecology and Management
Vol/bind476
ISSN0378-1127
DOI
StatusUdgivet - nov. 2020

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