Chin J Plant Ecol ›› 2023, Vol. 47 ›› Issue (5): 597-607.DOI: 10.17521/cjpe.2022.0143

• Review •     Next Articles

Research progress on home-field advantage of leaf litter decomposition

ZHAO Xiao-Xiang1,2, ZHU Bin-Bin1,2, TIAN Qiu-Xiang1, LIN Qiao-Ling1,2, CHEN Long1,2, LIU Feng1,*()   

  1. 1. Key Laboratory of Aquatic Botany and Watershed Ecology, Wuhan Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Wuhan 430074, China
    2. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • Received:2022-04-14 Accepted:2022-09-08 Online:2023-05-20 Published:2022-09-08
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China(32171599);National Natural Science Foundation of China(31870465)


Litter often decomposes more rapidly in its native habitat (“home”) than in non-native habitats (“away”), a phenomenon called the “home-field advantage”. To explore the driving mechanism of home-field advantage of litter decomposition is important to predict the process of plant nutrient return and ecosystem carbon budget. This study reviewed the research progress on the home-field advantage of litter decomposition in recent years by discussing the quantification of home-field advantage, the controlling factors, and related driving mechanisms. There are four common metrics to describe home-field advantage in litter decomposition, and the use of linear model analysis to calculate home-field advantage is more appropriate. Litter quality (chemical composition, etc.) and soil microbial community structure are the main factors influencing the home-field advantage of litter decomposition, and soil fauna, climatic conditions, decomposition time, plant life form and growth form can also influence the intensity of the home-field advantage. Greater differences in litter quality usually generate stronger home-field advantage. Microbial taxa in the soil drive the home-field advantage of litter decomposition, but the role of soil microbes is often mediated by animal and climatic disturbances. In addition, the existence of phyllosphere microbes makes the home-field advantage of litter decomposition stronger. The litter chemical convergence hypothesis, decomposer control hypothesis and substrate quality-matrix quality interaction hypothesis are major hypotheses explaining the home-field advantage in litter decomposition, but they are not impeccable. We believe that the association between litter and soil microbial community is the driving force behind home-field advantage. The current researches on the factors and relative contribution of home-field advantage are not deep enough and usually focusing on a single ecosystem. Future investigations should explore deeper on the factors and their relative contributions of home-field advantage, and focus on more ecosystem types to improve the understandings of the mechanism of home-field advantage.

Key words: litter decomposition, home-field advantage, litter quality, soil microbes, climatical condition, phyllosphere microbes