Chin J Plant Ecol ›› 2016, Vol. 40 ›› Issue (9): 883-892.DOI: 10.17521/cjpe.2016.0040

Special Issue: 凋落物

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Leaf decomposition and nutrient release of dominant species in the forest and lake in the Jiuzhaigou National Nature Reserve, China

Bo XU1,2, Zhong-Fu ZHU3, Jin-Yang LI1, Yan WU1, Gui-Ping DENG3, Ning WU1, Fu-Sun SHI1,*()   

  1. 1Chengdu Institute of Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Chengdu 610041, China

    2Aba Teachers University, Aba, Sichuan 623002, China
    3Jiuzhaigou National Nature Reserve Administration, Aba, Sichuan 623402, China
  • Received:2016-01-19 Accepted:2016-07-23 Online:2016-09-10 Published:2016-09-29
  • Contact: Fu-Sun SHI


AimsLitter decomposition is an important ecological process in nutrient cycling and productivity of ecosystems. Our objective is to quantify the differences of litter decomposition and nutrient release (N and P) under the forest and in an alpine lake among the dominant tree species in the Jiuzhaigou National Nature Reserve.
Methods Fresh leaf litters of Abies ernestii, Pinus tabulaeformis, Betula albo-sinensis, and Salix cupularis were collected and placed in bags under the forest and in an alpine lake for a year.
Important findings The mass remaining ratio (MR) of the leaf litters was well predicted with Olson’s decay model (r > 0.93, p < 0.01). The time for 99% decomposition was the shortest for S. cupularis (6.80 a), followed by B. albo-sinensis (10.34 a), A. ernestii (18.88 a), and P. tabulaeformis (27.21 a). These values were 1.48-, 1.55-, 1.80-, and 1.65-folds of the corresponding values in the lake, respectively. Both MR and nitrogen remaining ratio (NR) had significantly negative correlations with the leaf initial N concentration, but significantly positive correlations with the initial C:N. The nutrient release was significantly different among the four species and between the two sites (i.e., forest and alpine lake). The N release of S. cupularis was consistent between forest and the lake (i.e. directly released in the beginning of decomposition), while other species had an obvious N enrichment process before it released. The release of P among was similar among the four species and between the two sites, with a release—enrichment—release pattern. Overall, the leaf litter decomposition appeared as an intricate process that was affected by the litter chemistry and and the environment. The fast litter decomposition in the lake may have a profound influence on the water quanlity in the Jiuzhaigou National Nature Reserve.

Key words: leaf litter, decomposition, initial nutrient content, nutrient release, alpine lake