Preprint Case Report Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Home-Field Advantage of Litter Decomposition Faded 5-10 Years After Spruce Forest Clearcutting

Version 1 : Received: 1 February 2022 / Approved: 2 February 2022 / Online: 2 February 2022 (13:49:41 CET)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

Zhuang, L.; Schnepf, A.; Unger, K.; Liang, Z.; Bol, R. Home-Field Advantage of Litter Decomposition Faded 8 Years after Spruce Forest Clearcutting in Western Germany. Soil Syst. 2022, 6, 26. Zhuang, L.; Schnepf, A.; Unger, K.; Liang, Z.; Bol, R. Home-Field Advantage of Litter Decomposition Faded 8 Years after Spruce Forest Clearcutting in Western Germany. Soil Syst. 2022, 6, 26.

Journal reference: Soil Syst. 2022, 6, 26
DOI: 10.3390/soilsystems6010026

Abstract

Home-field advantage (HFA) encompasses all the processes leading to faster litter decomposition in the 'home' environment as compared to that of ‘away’ environments. To determine the occurrence of HFA in a forest and adjacent clear-cut, we set up a reciprocal litter decomposition experiment within the forest and clear-cut for two soil types (Cambisols and Gleysols) in temperate Germany. The forest was dominated by Norway spruce (Picea abies), whereas forest regeneration of European Beech (Fagus sylvatica) after clearcutting was encouraged. Our observation that Norway spruce decomposed faster than European beech in 70-yr-old spruce forest, was therefore most likely related to specialized litter-microbial interaction under existing spruce, and leading to a HFA. The ‘spruce’ microbial biome and soil conditions of original forest were then rapidly changed even after a short-term regeneration following clearcutting, resulting in faster beech decomposition also masking any HFA for spruce, particularly in moisture- and nutrient-deficient Cambisols. Divergence between forest and clear-cut in the Cambisol of their litter δ15N values beyond 9 months, implied litter N decomposition was only initially independent of soil and residual C status. We conclude that clearcutting modifies HFA and helps promote the establishment or regeneration of European beech in this and similar forest mountain upland areas.

Keywords

Clearcutting; Norway spruce; European beech; litter decomposition; N; Ca; Home-field advantage (HFA); Carbon and nitrogen stable isotopes

Subject

BIOLOGY, Ecology

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