An experimental comparison of chemical traits and litter decomposition rates in a diverse range of subarctic bryophyte, lichen and vascular plant species.

S.I. Lang, J.H.C. Cornelissen, T. Klahn, R.S.P van Logtestijn, R.A. Broekman, W. Schweikert, R. Aerts

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

1. Climate change in the subarctic is expected to influence vegetation composition, specifically bryophyte and lichen communities, thereby modifying litter decomposition rates and carbon (C) dynamics of these systems with possible feedbacks to climate. 2. In a 2-year experiment, we investigated decomposition rates and chemical traits of 27 bryophytes, 17 lichens and 5 vascular plants in litter beds in subarctic Sweden. The majority of the sampled cryptogam species are widespread at higher northern latitudes. 3. Average 2-year litter decomposition rates (exponential mass loss constant k) of lichen (0.44 ± 0.01) and vascular plant (0.56 ± 0.03) species were higher than that of bryophytes (0.11 ± 0.01), while within main cryptogam taxa, species identity was an important determinant of mass loss rates. At cryptogam group level, 2-year litter mass loss of Sphagnum was significantly lower than for non-Sphagnum mosses and liverworts. Within lichens, N
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)886-900
JournalJournal of Ecology
Volume97
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2009

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