Early stage litter decomposition across biomes

TeaComposition

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

82 Scopus citations

Abstract

Through litter decomposition enormous amounts of carbon is emitted to the atmosphere. Numerous large-scale decomposition experiments have been conducted focusing on this fundamental soil process in order to understand the controls on the terrestrial carbon transfer to the atmosphere. However, previous studies were mostly based on site-specific litter and methodologies, adding major uncertainty to syntheses, comparisons and meta-analyses across different experiments and sites. In the TeaComposition initiative, the potential litter decomposition is investigated by using standardized substrates (Rooibos and Green tea) for comparison of litter mass loss at 336 sites (ranging from −9 to +26 °C MAT and from 60 to 3113 mm MAP) across different ecosystems. In this study we tested the effect of climate (temperature and moisture), litter type and land-use on early stage decomposition (3 months) across nine biomes. We show that litter quality was the predominant controlling factor in early stage litter decomposition, which explained about 65% of the variability in litter decomposition at a global scale. The effect of climate, on the other hand, was not litter specific and explained <0.5% of the variation for Green tea and 5% for Rooibos tea, and was of significance only under unfavorable decomposition conditions (i.e. xeric versus mesic environments). When the data were aggregated at the biome scale, climate played a significant role on decomposition of both litter types (explaining 64% of the variation for Green tea and 72% for Rooibos tea). No significant effect of land-use on early stage litter decomposition was noted within the temperate biome. Our results indicate that multiple drivers are affecting early stage litter mass loss with litter quality being dominant. In order to be able to quantify the relative importance of the different drivers over time, long-term studies combined with experimental trials are needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1369-1394
Number of pages26
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Volume628-629
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was performed within the TeaComposition initiative, carried out by 190 institutions worldwide. We thank Gabrielle Drozdowski for her help with the packaging and shipping of tea, Zora Wessely and Johannes Spiegel for the creative implementation of the acknowledgement card, Josip Dusper for creative implementation of the graphical abstract, Christine Brendle for the GIS editing, and Marianne Debue for her help with the data cleaning. Further acknowledgements go to Adriana Principe, Melanie Köbel, Pedro Pinho, Thomas Parker, Steve Unger, Jon Gewirtzman and Margot McKleeven for the implementation of the study at their respective sites. We are very grateful to UNILEVER for sponsoring the Lipton tea bags and to the COST action ClimMani for scientific discussions, adoption and support to the idea of TeaComposition as a common metric. The initiative was supported by the following grants: ILTER Initiative Grant , ClimMani Short-Term Scientific Missions Grant (COST action ES1308 ; COST-STSM-ES1308-36004 ; COST-STM-ES1308-39006 ; ES1308-231015-068365 ), INTERACT (EU H2020 Grant No. 730938 ), and Austrian Environment Agency (UBA). Franz Zehetner acknowledges the support granted by the Prometeo Project of Ecuador's Secretariat of Higher Education, Science, Technology and Innovation ( SENESCYT ) as well as Charles Darwin Foundation for the Galapagos Islands ( 2190 ). Ana I. Sousa, Ana I. Lillebø and Marta Lopes thanks for the financial support to CESAM ( UID/AMB/50017 ), to FCT/MEC through national funds (PIDDAC), and the co-funding by the FEDER, within the PT2020 Partnership Agreement and Compete 2020. The research was also funded by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology, FCT, through SFRH/BPD/107823/2015 (A.I. Sousa), co-funded by POPH/FSE. Thomas Mozdzer thanks US National Science Foundation NSF DEB-1557009 . Helena C. Serrano thanks Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia ( UID/BIA/00329/2013 ). Milan Barna acknowledges Scientific Grant Agency VEGA ( 2/0101/18 ). Anzar A Khuroo acknowledges financial support under HIMADRI project from SAC-ISRO, India.

Funding Information:
This work was performed within the TeaComposition initiative, carried out by 190 institutions worldwide. We thank Gabrielle Drozdowski for her help with the packaging and shipping of tea, Zora Wessely and Johannes Spiegel for the creative implementation of the acknowledgement card, Josip Dusper for creative implementation of the graphical abstract, Christine Brendle for the GIS editing, and Marianne Debue for her help with the data cleaning. Further acknowledgements go to Adriana Principe, Melanie Köbel, Pedro Pinho, Thomas Parker, Steve Unger, Jon Gewirtzman and Margot McKleeven for the implementation of the study at their respective sites. We are very grateful to UNILEVER for sponsoring the Lipton tea bags and to the COST action ClimMani for scientific discussions, adoption and support to the idea of TeaComposition as a common metric. The initiative was supported by the following grants: ILTER Initiative Grant, ClimMani Short-Term Scientific Missions Grant (COST action ES1308; COST-STSM-ES1308-36004; COST-STM-ES1308-39006; ES1308-231015-068365), INTERACT (EU H2020 Grant No. 730938), and Austrian Environment Agency (UBA). Franz Zehetner acknowledges the support granted by the Prometeo Project of Ecuador's Secretariat of Higher Education, Science, Technology and Innovation (SENESCYT) as well as Charles Darwin Foundation for the Galapagos Islands (2190). Ana I. Sousa, Ana I. Lillebø and Marta Lopes thanks for the financial support to CESAM (UID/AMB/50017), to FCT/MEC through national funds (PIDDAC), and the co-funding by the FEDER, within the PT2020 Partnership Agreement and Compete 2020. The research was also funded by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology, FCT, through SFRH/BPD/107823/2015 (A.I. Sousa), co-funded by POPH/FSE. Thomas Mozdzer thanks US National Science Foundation NSF DEB-1557009. Helena C. Serrano thanks Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (UID/BIA/00329/2013). Milan Barna acknowledges Scientific Grant Agency VEGA (2/0101/18). Anzar A Khuroo acknowledges financial support under HIMADRI project from SAC-ISRO, India.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Elsevier B.V.

Keywords

  • Carbon turnover
  • Green tea
  • Rooibos tea
  • Tea bag
  • TeaComposition initiative

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