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Reading tea leaves worldwide: Decoupled drivers of initial litter decomposition mass-loss rate and stabilization

Sarneel, Judith M.; Hefting, Mariet M.; Sanden, Taru; van den Hoogen, Johan; Routh, Devin; Adhikari, Bhupendra S.; Alatalo, Juha M.; Aleksanyan, Alla; Althuizen, Inge H.J.; Alsafran, Mohammed H. S. A.; Atkins, Jeff W.; Augusto, Laurent; Aurela, Mika; Azarov, Aleksej V.; Barrio, Isabel C.; Beier, Claus; Bejarano, María D.; Benham, Sue E.; Berg, Björn; Bezler, Nadezhda V.; Björnsdóttir, Katrín; Bolinder, Martin A.; Carbognani, Michele; Cazzolla Gatti, Roberto; Chelli, Stefano; Chistotin, Maxim V.; Christiansen, Casper T.; Courtois, Pascal; Crowther, Thomas W.; Dechoum, Michele S.; Djukic, Ika; Duddigan, Sarah; Egerton- Warburton, Louise M.; Fanin, Nicolas; Fantappiè, Maria; Fares, Silvano; Fernandes, Geraldo W.; Filippova, Nina V.; Fliessbach, Andreas; Fuentes, David and et, al. (2024) Reading tea leaves worldwide: Decoupled drivers of initial litter decomposition mass-loss rate and stabilization. Ecology Letters, 27 (5), pp. 1-14.

[thumbnail of sarneel-etal-2024-EcologyLetters-Vol27-Issue5-Article14415-p1-14.pdf] PDF - Published Version - English
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.


Document available online at: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/ele.14415

Summary in the original language of the document

The breakdown of plant material fuels soil functioning and biodiversity. Currently, process understanding of global decomposition patterns and the drivers of such patterns are hampered by the lack of coherent large-scale datasets. We buried 36,000 individual litterbags (tea bags) worldwide and found an overall negative correlation between initial mass-loss rates and stabilization factors of plant-derived carbon, using the Tea Bag Index (TBI). The stabilization factor quantifies the degree to which easy-to-degrade components accumulate during early-stage decomposition (e.g. by environmental limitations). However, agriculture and an interaction between moisture and temperature led to a decoupling between initial mass-loss rates and stabilization, notably in colder locations. Using TBI improved mass-loss estimates of natural litter compared to models that ignored stabilization. Ignoring the transformation of dead plant material to more recalcitrant substances during early-stage decomposition, and the environmental control of this transformation, could overestimate carbon losses during early decomposition in carbon cycle models.

EPrint Type:Journal paper
Keywords:citizen science, environmental drivers, global change, litter decomposition, mass loss, soil organic matter formation, stabilization, tea bag index
Agrovoc keywords:
soil organic matter
citizen science
Subjects: Soil > Soil quality
Soil > Nutrient turnover
Research affiliation:Other countries
Belgium > Flanders > University Ghent (UGent) – (Ghent)
Denmark > AU - Aarhus University
Belgium > Other Organizations Belgium
Brazil > Other organizations Brazil
Switzerland > ETHZ - Agrarwissenschaften
Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Crops > Composting and fertilizer application
Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Soil > Nutrient management
Czech Republic > Other institutions Czech republic
Denmark > KU - University of Copenhagen
Spain > Other organizations Spain
France > INRAe - Institut national de recherche pour l’agriculture, l’alimentation et l’environnement
France > Other organizations France
Italy > Other organizations Italy
Italy > Univ. Bologna
Italy > Univ. Parma
Sweden > Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) > Department of Ecology
South Africa
UK > Other organizations United Kingdom
Germany > University of Kassel > Department of Soil Biology and Plant Nutrition
USA > Other organizations USA
Netherlands > Wageningen University & Research (WUR)
Sweden > Other organizations Sweden
Switzerland > Other organizations Switzerland
Germany > Other organizations Germany
Austria > Other organizations Austria
Netherlands > Other organizations Netherlands
Norway > Other organizations Norway
Finland > Other organizations Finland
Australia > Other organizations Australia
Deposited By: Forschungsinstitut für biologischen Landbau, FiBL
ID Code:53511
Deposited On:19 Jun 2024 07:58
Last Modified:19 Jun 2024 07:58
Document Language:English
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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