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Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Plant Sci. | doi: 10.3389/fpls.2019.01298

Fine-root turnover, litterfall and soil microbial community of three mixed coniferous-deciduous forests dominated by Korean pine (Pinus koraiensis) along a latitudinal gradient

  • 1Minzu University of China, China
  • 2Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences,, China
  • 3University of Antwerp, Belgium
  • 4Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement, France

Carbon dynamics in forests and in particular in soils are of primary importance in the context of climate change. A better understanding of the drivers controlling carbon storage is needed to improve climate mitigation strategies. Carbon storage is the result of a balance between inputs and outputs. Carbon inputs in the soil come from plant residues and root exudates, which are further transformed by microorganisms and stored in the long-term. Here, we measured litter and fine root production in three mixed forests dominated by Pinus koraiensis along a latitudinal gradient, and performed a litterbag experiment to better understand the driving factors of decomposition. We found that over the three sites, litter production was controlled by climatic factors, soil properties and forest stand characteristics, whereas decay rates were mainly controlled by microbial community structure and soil stoichiometry. For fine roots, production differed among sites and higher production was consistently observed in the top soil layers compared to deep soil, although the root distribution along the soil profile differed among sites. Fine root decay rates were mainly controlled by fine-root stoichiometric characteristics. This paper emphasizes the complexity of fine root dynamics even for a single species. Environmental drivers impact on both production and decay and we suggest to perform manipulative field experiments to better identify the mechanisms involved in soil carbon cycling.

Keywords: fine roots, Litter decomposition, Soil Organic Carbon, Korean pine, latitudinal gradient

Received: 22 May 2019; Accepted: 18 Sep 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Liu, Fan, Wang, Shen, Janssens, Guenet and Xiao. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Prof. Chunwang Xiao, Minzu University of China, Beijing, China,