- Wood Decomposition

Coarse woody debris decomposition

Coarse woody debris (CWD) is an important component of forest ecosystems throughout the world. It represents a significant carbon and nutrient pool, promotes biodiversity of wood- dwelling organisms, influences erosion and serves as a fuel for wildfire. Little is known about CWD dynamics in species-rich subtropical forests and hardly anything is known about the role of tree diversity. Biodiversity may affect decomposition rates and stocks of CWD by altering the decomposer microenvironment (via the link between diversity and stand structure), the substrate quality (via tree species’ traits) and the diversity and abundance of saproxylic insects. To explore the signature of tree diversity on CWD decomposition we propose a combination of field observations and experiments: (1) We follow the fate of labeled in situ CWD originating from a recent snowbreak. (2) Standardized CWD varying in accessibility for microbes and insects (litter bags, elevated position) will be deposited in the comparative study plots, in the main experiment and in the NILEx experiment, to disentangle the roles of tree diversity, stand structure, and abiotic factors. (3) The relationship between CWD decomposition and wood traits is investigated using material from 20 tree species. With this project we expect to uncover a novel pathway of how diversity affects ecosystem functioning in forests. This work is performed by Katherina Pietsch

last modified: 14.01.2015