Preprint Article Version 1 This version is not peer-reviewed

Loss of Total Phenol in Two Shrub Leaf Litter Species: The Dual Role of Alpine Forest Gap Disturbance

Version 1 : Received: 7 October 2019 / Approved: 8 October 2019 / Online: 8 October 2019 (10:57:01 CEST)

How to cite: He, W.; Yang, W. Loss of Total Phenol in Two Shrub Leaf Litter Species: The Dual Role of Alpine Forest Gap Disturbance. Preprints 2019, 2019100090 (doi: 10.20944/preprints201910.0090.v1). He, W.; Yang, W. Loss of Total Phenol in Two Shrub Leaf Litter Species: The Dual Role of Alpine Forest Gap Disturbance. Preprints 2019, 2019100090 (doi: 10.20944/preprints201910.0090.v1).

Abstract

Alpine forest gaps can distribute snowfall, solar radiation and rainfall, thus inducing a heterogeneous hydrothermal microenvironment between the inside and outside areas of forest gaps. Additionally, the characteristics of the heterogeneous microenvironment could vary greatly across the gap location properties during winter and the growing season. To determine the response of total phenol loss (TPL) from the litter to alpine forest gap disturbance during decomposition, we conducted a field litterbag experiment within a representative fir (Abies faxoniana Rehd.) forest based on the gap location properties. The TPL and abundances of fungi and bacteria from two typical shrub species (willow, Salix paraplesia Schneid., and bamboo, Fargesia nitida (Mitford) Keng f.) were measured during the following periods over two years: snow formation (SF), snow cover (SC) snow melting (ST), the early growing season (EG) and the later growing season (LG). At the end of the study, we found that the snow cover depth, frequencies of the freeze-thaw cycle and the fungal copy g-1 to bacterial copy g-1 ratio had significant effects on the litter TPL. The abundances of fungi and bacteria decreased from the gap center to the closed canopy during the two SF, SC, ST and LG periods and reversed during the two EG periods. The TPL closely followed the same trend as the microbial abundance during the first year of incubation. In addition, both species had larger TPLs in the gap center during the first winter, first year and entire two years. These findings suggest that alpine forest gap formation accelerates litter TPL and plays a dual role during specific critical periods by distributing abiotic and biotic factors directly and indirectly. In conclusion, reduced snow cover depth and duration during winter warming under current climate change scenarios or as gaps vanish may slow litter TPL in alpine biomes.

Subject Areas

alpine forest gap; freeze-thaw cycle; fungi to bacteria ratio; snow cover depth; total phenol

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