Dossa, G.G.O.; Jin, Y.-Q.; Lü, X.-T.; Tang, J.-W.; Harrison, R.D. Small Roots of Parashorea chinensis Wang Hsie Decompose Slower than Twigs. Forests2019, 10, 301.
Dossa, G.G.O.; Jin, Y.-Q.; Lü, X.-T.; Tang, J.-W.; Harrison, R.D. Small Roots of Parashorea chinensis Wang Hsie Decompose Slower than Twigs. Forests 2019, 10, 301.
Plants produce above- and below-ground biomass. However, our understanding of both production and decomposition of below-ground biomass is poor, largely because of the difficulties of accessing study materials. Below-ground organic matter decomposition studies are scanty and especially rare in the tropics. Here, we used a litter bag experiment to quantify the mass loss and nutrients dynamics of decomposing twigs and fine roots from an arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal associated tree, Parashorea chinensis, in a tropical rain forest in Southwest China. Overall, twig litter decomposed 1.9 times faster than fine roots (decay rate (k) twig=0.255, root=0.134). The difference in decomposition rates can be explained by a difference in phosphorus (P) concentration, availability and use by decomposers or C quality. Both materials showed an increase in N concentration, with final measurements still higher than initial levels. This suggests N may not be available due to microbial immobilization. Both carbon and nitrogen dynamics were significantly predicted by mass loss and showed a negative and positive relationship, respectively. Our study results imply that fine roots carbon and nitrogen contribute more to soils organic matter and enlarge the resident time. Therefore, better understanding of carbon cycle requires better understanding of mechanisms governing below ground biomass decomposition.
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