Leaf litter decomposition is a major pathway for nutrient recycling and a chief factor controlling ecosystem primary productivity. The aim of this study was to analyze the effect of forest thinning on the earlystage
foliar decomposition rate and nutrient immobilization-release pattern in a mixed Quercus pyrenaica-Pinus pinaster forest growing in the western Mediterranean basin. Two thinning treatments,
differing in the intensity of canopy reduction, were compared with a control (unthinned) situation. Oak leaves showed faster decomposition rates than pine needles in unthinned plots. Intense canopy
reduction (40% of basal area removed) reduced decomposition rates in both species whereas intermediate reduction (25% of basal area removed) increased decomposition of needles to a rate similar to that of
oak leaves. C and N transfer from N-rich to N-poor foliar litter was not detected, indicating a marginal role of canopy reduction in this process. A decoupling of the decomposition rate from immobilization-release
pattern was found for mobile elements (K and Mg) at intermediate levels of canopy cover whereas Ca dynamics indicated that pine needles had not started the lignin-mediated degradation phase two years
after incubation. We finally hypothesized that strong reductions of canopy cover in dry Mediterranean sites might have an aridification effect on litter decomposition.
ETS Ingenierías Agrarias Universidad de Valladolid - Avd. Madrid s/n
34004 - PALENCIA - Localización
INIA-CIFOR - Ctra. A Coruña km 7,5
28040 - MADRID - Localización
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