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Bulletin of Botanical Research ›› 2017, Vol. 37 ›› Issue (2): 216-226.doi: 10.7525/j.issn.1673-5102.2017.02.009

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C,N and P Stoichiometry at Different Stages of Litter Decomposition in Subalpine Forest of Western Sichuan Province and Interspecies Comparison

SHEN Xian1,2,3, LIU Yang1,2,3, DENG Jing1,2,3, SHI Jia-Qi1,2,3   

  1. 1. Long-term Research Station of Alpine Forest Ecosystems, Chengdu 611130;
    2. Key Laboratory of Ecological Forestry Engineering in Sichuan Province, Chengdu 611130;
    3. College of Forestry, Sichuan Agricultural University, Chengdu 611130
  • Received:2016-09-05 Online:2017-03-15 Published:2017-03-11
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China(31570605,31200345);The National Undergraduate Innovation Test Program(1510626069)

Abstract: We used spatial sequence instead of time successional sequence to study the stoichiometry of litter decomposition in subalpine forest of Western Sichuan. Three litter layers including Fresh litter layer(L), Fermentative layer(F) and Humus layer(H) under natural conditions were taken to simulate different litter decomposition stages, studied on Carbon(C), nitrogen(N), phosphorus(P) and dissolved organic carbon(DOC), soluble nitrogen(SN) and phosphorus(SP) contents of three litter layers of Picea asperata(Pa), Abies faxoniana(Af), Betula platyphylla Suk(Bp) and Rhododendron lapponicum(Rl) in four subalpine forests. The forest type and decomposition stages significantly affected C, N, P contents and its stoichiometric ratio in the process of litter decomposition. For all the forest litter, DOC and SP contents reduced and leached quickly at the early decomposition stage whereas slowly in the later periods of decomposition. SN, SP and DOC contents of hardwood species were generally higher than those of conifer species, which in the order of Bp > Rl > Af > Pa, especially at the early decomposition stages. There was significant difference between conifer species and hardwood species, and SN content of Pa and Af reduced with the ongoing of decomposition process while Bp and Rl got highest in the F layer. C content reduced with the ongoing of decomposition process, and N content of Af, Bp and Rl got highest when they were in the Fermentative layer(F > L > H). Litter decomposition stages had no significant effect on P content of Pa and Bp. Overall, litter C/P and N/P of subalpine forest were significantly lower than the global average, C/N, C/P, N/P, DOC/C, SN/N, SP/P also reduced with the ongoing of decomposition process. For DOC/C, Bp and Rl significant decreased at early decomposition stages, and Af significantly decreased at late decomposition stages. N:P of Af increased at first and then decreased, but for Rl showed a trend of rising in the decomposition. These results provided a comprehensive understanding of the litter decomposition process and nutrient cycling in the subalpine forest.

Key words: subalpine forest, litter decomposition stages, forest types, C, N, P

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