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Carbon isotopic signatures of soil organic matter correlate with leaf area index across woody biomes

Ladd, Brenton; Peri, Pablo L.; Pepper, David A.; Silva, Lucas C. R.; Sheil, Douglas; Bonser, Stephen P.; Laffan, Shawn W.; Amelung, Wulf; Ekblad, Alf and Eliasson, Peter LU , et al. (2014) In Journal of Ecology 102(6). p.1606-1611
Abstract
Leaf area index (LAI), a measure of canopy density, is a key variable for modelling and understanding primary productivity, and also water use and energy exchange in forest ecosystems. However, LAI varies considerably with phenology and disturbance patterns, so alternative approaches to quantifying stand-level processes should be considered. The carbon isotope composition of soil organic matter (C-13(SOM)) provides a time-integrated, productivity-weighted measure of physiological and stand-level processes, reflecting biomass deposition from seasonal to decadal time scales. Our primary aim was to explore how well LAI correlates with C-13(SOM) across biomes. Using a global data set spanning large environmental gradients in tropical,... (More)
Leaf area index (LAI), a measure of canopy density, is a key variable for modelling and understanding primary productivity, and also water use and energy exchange in forest ecosystems. However, LAI varies considerably with phenology and disturbance patterns, so alternative approaches to quantifying stand-level processes should be considered. The carbon isotope composition of soil organic matter (C-13(SOM)) provides a time-integrated, productivity-weighted measure of physiological and stand-level processes, reflecting biomass deposition from seasonal to decadal time scales. Our primary aim was to explore how well LAI correlates with C-13(SOM) across biomes. Using a global data set spanning large environmental gradients in tropical, temperate and boreal forest and woodland, we assess the strength of the correlation between LAI and C-13(SOM); we also assess climatic variables derived from the WorldClim database. We found that LAI was strongly correlated with C-13(SOM), but was also correlated with Mean Temperature of the Wettest Quarter, Mean Precipitation of Warmest Quarter and Annual Solar Radiation across and within biomes.Synthesis. Our results demonstrate that C-13(SOM) values can provide spatially explicit estimates of leaf area index (LAI) and could therefore serve as a surrogate for productivity and water use. While C-13(SOM) has traditionally been used to reconstruct the relative abundance of C-3 versus C-4 species, the results of this study demonstrate that within stable C-3- or C-4-dominated biomes, C-13(SOM) can provide additional insights. The fact that LAI is strongly correlated to C-13(SOM) may allow for a more nuanced interpretation of ecosystem properties of palaeoecosystems based on palaeosol C-13 values. (Less)
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subject
keywords
climate, isoscapes, leaf area index, paleoecosystems, plant-soil, (below-ground) interactions, productivity, stable isotopes, water, stress, C-13, C-13(SOM)
in
Journal of Ecology
volume
102
issue
6
pages
1606 - 1611
publisher
Wiley-Blackwell
external identifiers
  • wos:000344333800025
  • scopus:84925784217
ISSN
1365-2745
DOI
10.1111/1365-2745.12309
project
MERGE
language
English
LU publication?
yes
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1e9e8ce5-08bd-48d8-8889-43b08714ab8d (old id 4875076)
date added to LUP
2014-12-30 14:53:34
date last changed
2017-11-05 03:07:08
@article{1e9e8ce5-08bd-48d8-8889-43b08714ab8d,
  abstract     = {Leaf area index (LAI), a measure of canopy density, is a key variable for modelling and understanding primary productivity, and also water use and energy exchange in forest ecosystems. However, LAI varies considerably with phenology and disturbance patterns, so alternative approaches to quantifying stand-level processes should be considered. The carbon isotope composition of soil organic matter (C-13(SOM)) provides a time-integrated, productivity-weighted measure of physiological and stand-level processes, reflecting biomass deposition from seasonal to decadal time scales. Our primary aim was to explore how well LAI correlates with C-13(SOM) across biomes. Using a global data set spanning large environmental gradients in tropical, temperate and boreal forest and woodland, we assess the strength of the correlation between LAI and C-13(SOM); we also assess climatic variables derived from the WorldClim database. We found that LAI was strongly correlated with C-13(SOM), but was also correlated with Mean Temperature of the Wettest Quarter, Mean Precipitation of Warmest Quarter and Annual Solar Radiation across and within biomes.Synthesis. Our results demonstrate that C-13(SOM) values can provide spatially explicit estimates of leaf area index (LAI) and could therefore serve as a surrogate for productivity and water use. While C-13(SOM) has traditionally been used to reconstruct the relative abundance of C-3 versus C-4 species, the results of this study demonstrate that within stable C-3- or C-4-dominated biomes, C-13(SOM) can provide additional insights. The fact that LAI is strongly correlated to C-13(SOM) may allow for a more nuanced interpretation of ecosystem properties of palaeoecosystems based on palaeosol C-13 values.},
  author       = {Ladd, Brenton and Peri, Pablo L. and Pepper, David A. and Silva, Lucas C. R. and Sheil, Douglas and Bonser, Stephen P. and Laffan, Shawn W. and Amelung, Wulf and Ekblad, Alf and Eliasson, Peter and Bahamonde, Hector and Duarte-Guardia, Sandra and Bird, Michael},
  issn         = {1365-2745},
  keyword      = {climate,isoscapes,leaf area index,paleoecosystems,plant-soil,(below-ground) interactions,productivity,stable isotopes,water,stress,C-13,C-13(SOM)},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {6},
  pages        = {1606--1611},
  publisher    = {Wiley-Blackwell},
  series       = {Journal of Ecology},
  title        = {Carbon isotopic signatures of soil organic matter correlate with leaf area index across woody biomes},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1365-2745.12309},
  volume       = {102},
  year         = {2014},
}