Fine root presence and increased phosphorus availability stimulate wood decay in a central Amazonian rainforest

Martins, N.P., Valverde‐Barrantes, O., Fuchslueger, L., Lugli, L.F., Grandis, A., Hofhansl, F. ORCID:, Takeshi, B., Ushida, G., et al. (2023). Fine root presence and increased phosphorus availability stimulate wood decay in a central Amazonian rainforest. Oikos 2 e09996. 10.1111/oik.09996.

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In the Amazon basin, approximately 60% of rainforest thrives on geologically old and highly weathered soils, thus decomposition represents an important mechanism for recycling nutrients from organic matter. Although dead logs and branches constitute up to 14% of the carbon stored in terrestrial ecosystems, woody debris decomposition and mainly the effect of direct nutrient cycling by plant root interaction is poorly studied and often overlooked in ecosystem carbon and nutrient budgets. Here we monitored the decomposition of five different local woody species covering a range of wood density by conducting a long-term wood decomposition experiment over two years with factorial root presence and phosphorous (P) addition treatments in a central Amazonian rainforest. We hypothesized that woody debris decomposition is accelerated by colonizing fine roots mining for nutrients, possibly strongly affecting wood debris with lower density and higher nutrient concentration (P). We found that root colonization and P addition separately increased wood decay rates, and although fine root colonization increased when P was added, this did not result in a change in wood decay. Nutrient loss from wood was accelerated by P addition, whereas a root presence effect on nutrient mobilization was only detectable at the end of the experiment. Our results highlight the role of fine roots in priming wood decay, although direct nutrient acquisition by plants seems to only occur in more advanced stages of decomposition. On the other hand, the positive effect of P addition may indicate that microbial nutrient mobilization in woody material is driven mainly by wood stoichiometry rather than priming by root activity.

Item Type: Article
Research Programs: Biodiversity and Natural Resources (BNR)
Biodiversity and Natural Resources (BNR) > Agriculture, Forestry, and Ecosystem Services (AFE)
Biodiversity and Natural Resources (BNR) > Biodiversity, Ecology, and Conservation (BEC)
Depositing User: Luke Kirwan
Date Deposited: 20 Dec 2023 09:17
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2024 14:15

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