The Long-Term Intersite Decomposition Experiment in China (hereafter referred to as LTIDE-China) was established in 2002 to study how substrate quality and macroclimate factors affect leaf litter decomposition. The LTIDE-China includes a wide variety of natural and managed ecosystems, consisting of 12 forest types (eight regional broadleaf forests, three needle-leaf plantations and one broadleaf plantation) at eight locations across China. Samples of mixed leaf litter from the south subtropical evergreen broadleaf forest in Dinghushan (referred to as the DHS sample) were translocated to all 12 forest types. The leaf litter from each of other 11 forest types was placed in its original forest to enable comparison of decomposition rates of DHS and local litters. The experiment lasted for 30 months, involving collection of litterbags from each site every 3 months. Our results show that annual decomposition rate-constants, as represented by regression fitted k-values, ranged from 0.169 to 1.454/year. Climatic factors control the decomposition rate, in which mean annual temperature and annual actual evapotranspiration are dominant and mean annual precipitation is subordinate. Initial C/N and N/P ratios were demonstrated to be important factors of regulating litter decomposition rate. Decomposition process may apparently be divided into two phases controlled by different factors. In our study, 0.75 years is believed to be the dividing line of the two phases. The fact that decomposition rates of DHS litters were slower than those of local litters may have been resulted from the acclimation of local decomposer communities to extraneous substrate. ?? 2008 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.
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Factors influencing leaf litter decomposition: An intersite decomposition experiment across China