Chin J Plan Ecolo ›› 2015, Vol. 39 ›› Issue (1): 14-22.doi: 10.17521/cjpe.2015.0002

• Orginal Article • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Changes in log quality at different decay stages in an alpine forest

CHANG Chen-Hui, WU Fu-Zhong, YANG Wan-Qin*(), TAN Bo, XIAO Sa, LI Jun, GOU Xiao-Lin   

  1. Key Laboratory of Ecological Forestry Engineering, Institute of Ecological Forestry, Sichuan Agricultural University, Chengdu 611130, China
  • Received:2014-07-07 Accepted:2014-11-06 Online:2015-01-22 Published:2015-01-10
  • Contact: Wan-Qin YANG E-mail:scyangwq@163.com
  • About author:

    # Co-first authors

Abstract: Aims

Log is an important pool of carbon (C) and nutrients in alpine forest ecosystems. Changes in log quality with decay could reveal the process of C and nutrient release during log decomposition. However, little information is available on this. Therefore, this study aims to understand the changes in log quality during log decaying.

Methods

Changes in C, nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), lignin and cellulose concentrations were investigated in the heartwood, sapwood and bark of fir (Abies faxoniana) logs at five (I-V) decay stages in an alpine forest in western Sichuan, China. The stoichiometry of C:N:P and the ratios of lignin:N, lignin:P, cellulose:N, and cellulose:P were also calculated.

<i>Important findings </i>

C content in bark increased from the stage I to stage III of decay and then significantly decreased, but in the heartwood and sapwood it decreased from the stage I through stage V, especially at stages IV and V. N content increased from the stage I through stage V regardless of the log components. P content in sapwood also showed tended to increase from the stage I through stage V, but P content in heartwood and bark decreased following an increase tendency. In comparison with sapwood and heartwood, bark had the lowest C:N:P stoichiometry at the same decay stages. Percentage of the labile to total C (Fm) also inferred that bark was the most decomposable component. The higher C:N:P stoichiometry in sapwood was observed in logs of the stages I and II, but higher Fm in heartwood was detected from the stage III to stage V. Critical values of C:N in sapwood and bark and C:P in heartwood, sapwood and bark were negatively correlated with the initial N and P concentrations, respectively. Cellulose concentration decreased from the stage I to stage V regardless of log components, and among different components followed the order of heartwood > sapwood > bark at corresponding decay stages. In contrast, lignin concentration increased from the stage I to stage V regardless of log components, and among different components followed the order of bark > sapwood > heartwood at corresponding decay stages. Cellulose degraded faster than lignin regardless of log components, and the ratio of lignin:cellulose increased significantly at the advanced decay stages. Moreover, bark showed a relatively higher lignin:cellulose ratio compared with sapwood and heartwood. In addition, statistical analysis suggested that the degradation of lignin and cellulose in logs would be affected by N concentration. Bark decay was limited by N at early decay stages but by P at all decay stages, and the decay of heartwood and sapwood was limited by both N and P based on ecological stoichiometry theory.

Key words: high-frigid forest, decay stage, log quality, stoichiometry

Table 1

General description of the study sites"

项目 Item 基本特征 Basic characteristics
坡度 Slope degree 35°
坡向 Slope aspect NE 45°
海拔 Altitude (m) 3 582
树种组成 Species composition 该林分内岷江冷杉断面积占80%, 方枝柏断面积占林分断面积的20%, 红桦和四川红杉断面积均介于林分总断面积2%-5%。
The proportion of Abies faxoniana basal area to total stand basal area is 80%, and the proportion of Sabina saltuaria basal area to total stand basal area is 20%, while the proportion of the basal area for Betula albosinensis and Larix mastersiana to total stand basal area varied between 2%-5%.
林分蓄积 Stand volume (t·hm-2) 337.31
粗木质残体储量 Coarse woody debris volume (t·hm-2) 53
土壤特征 Soil characteristics 雏形土, 土层浅薄, 土体为腐殖质层到母质层的过渡土层。
Soil type is cambisols, with shallow soil depth and tendency of transition from humus layer to parent material layer.

Fig. 1

Contents of C, N, P in logs of Abies faxoniana at different decay stages (I-V) (mean ± SD, n = 3). Different lowercase letters indicate significant differences among the three log components (i.e. heartwood, sapwood, and bark) (p < 0.05). I, died less than one year prior to sampling, cambium still fresh; II, cambium decayed, a knife blade penetrates a few millimetres; III, a knife blade penetrates less than 2 cm; IV, a knife blade penetrates 2-5 cm; V, a knife blade penetrates all the way."

Table 2

Variation characteristics of C:N:P in logs of Abies faxoniana at different decay stages"

分解阶段
Decay stage
心材
Heartwood
边材
Sapwood
树皮
Bark
I 6 553:16:1 43 974:116:1 1 829:27:1
II 7 084:19:1 19 762:30:1 3 022:53:1
III 14 052:100:1 4 840:21:1 2 724:35:1
IV 7 041:19:1 5 210:18:1 1 394:38:1
V 5 757:29:1 3 453:26:1 1 609:71:1

Table 3

Variation characteristics of C:N, C:P and N:P in logs of Abies faxoniana at different decay stages (mean ± SD, n = 3)"

组分 Component I II III IV V
C:N 心材 Heartwood 411 ± 59a 386 ± 99a 166 ± 76b 373 ± 69a 275 ± 176ab
边材 Sapwood 393 ± 176a 1 497 ± 89a 230 ± 54a 291 ± 77a 183 ± 135a
树皮 Bark 68 ± 14ab 59 ± 16bc 80 ± 20be 35 ± 21cd 26 ± 14d
C:P 心材 Heartwood 6 553 ± 630a 7 084 ± 33a 14 052 ± 2 341b 7 041 ± 49a 5 757 ± 755a
边材 Sapwood 43 974 ± 8 810a 19 762 ± 11 544b 4 840 ± 1 461c 5 210 ± 1 179c 3 453 ± 270c
树皮 Bark 1 829 ± 326ad 3 022 ± 69bc 2 724 ± 186cd 1 394 ± 916a 1 609 ± 479a
N:P 心材 Heartwood 16 ± 1.04a 19 ± 5.67a 100 ± 49.71b 19 ± 3.41a 29 ± 21.48a
边材 Sapwood 116 ± 34.01a 30 ± 28.37b 21 ± 6.00b 18 ± 3.55b 26 ± 13.81b
树皮 Bark 27 ± 1.19a 53 ± 13.49ab 35 ± 7.48a 38 ± 17.54a 71 ± 30.80b

Table 4

Characteristics of lignin:N, lignin:P, cellulose:N and cellulose:P in logs of Abies faxoniana at different decay stages (mean ± SD, n = 3)"

组分 Component I II III IV V
木质素:N
Lignin:N
心材 Heartwood 181 ± 48ab 179 ± 83ab 112 ± 52a 244 ± 44b 224 ± 95ab
边材 Sapwood 218 ± 57a 773 ± 986a 143 ± 34a 237 ± 84a 212 ± 179a
树皮 Bark 61 ± 16a 66 ± 19a 78 ± 19a 52 ± 38a 44 ± 15a
木质素:P
Lignin:P
心材 Heartwood 2 882 ± 647a 3 161 ± 784a 9 435 ± 577b 4 609 ± 353c 5 200 ± 1 259c
边材 Sapwood 24 244 ± 4 849a 10 410 ± 5 464a 3 028 ± 1 005a 4 125 ± 789a 3 824 ± 506a
树皮 Bark 1 643 ± 368a 3 367 ± 176a 2 655 ± 165a 2 022 ± 1 402a 2 882 ± 309a
纤维素:N
Cellulose:N
心材 Heartwood 276 ± 27a 248 ± 31ab 77 ± 52 c 183 ± 51bd 100 ± 62cd
边材 Sapwood 228 ± 80a 864 ± 1 167a 119 ± 28a 172 ± 21a 72 ± 35a
树皮 Bark 31 ± 6a 23 ± 7a 36 ± 9a 11 ± 4a 17 ± 11a
纤维素:P
Cellulose:P
心材 Heartwood 4 403 ± 214ab 4 701 ± 842a 6 355 ± 3 463b 3 417 ± 551ab 2 102 ± 201a
边材 Sapwood 24 771 ± 3 043a 11 068 ± 6 874a 2 498 ± 712a 3 106 ± 479a 1 519 ± 372a
树皮 Bark 836 ± 169a 1 187 ± 79a 1 235 ± 124a 441 ± 262a 1 016 ± 437a

Fig. 2

Characteristics of lignin, cellulose content and the ratio of lignin to cellulose for various decay stages (I-V) (mean ± SD, n = 3). Different lowercase letters indicate significant differences among the three log components (i.e. heartwood, sapwood, and bark) (p < 0.05). I, died less than one year prior to sampling, cambium still fresh; II, cambium decayed, a knife blade penetrates a few millimetres; III, a knife blade penetrates less than 2 cm; IV, a knife blade penetrates 2-5 cm; V, a knife blade penetrates all the way."

Table 5

Pearson correlation analysis among lignin:cellulose, lignin, cellulose and N and P contents in logs of Abies faxoniana at different decay stages"

组分
Component
心材
Heartwood
边材
Sapwood
树皮
Bark
N P N P N P
木质素:纤维素
Lignin:cellulose
0.573* -0.125 0.528* 0.481 0.442 -0.027
木质素
Lignin
0.522* -0.106 0.302 0.532* -0.400 -0.551*
纤维素
Cellulose
-0.437 0.260 -0.410 -0.587* -0.618* -0.324
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