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Carbon isotopic signatures of soil organic matter correlate with leaf area index across woody biomes
Facultad de Ciencias Ambientales, Universidad Científica del Sur, Lima, Peru; Earth and Environmental Sciences, Evolution and Ecology Research Centre, School of Biological, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia.
Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Cientificas y Tecnicas (CONICET), Estación Experimental Agropecuaria (EEA), National Agricultural Technology Institute (INTA), Rio Gallegos, Argentina.
Earth and Environmental Sciences, School of Biological, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia.
Department of Land, Air and Water Resources, University of California, Davis, USA.
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2014 (English)In: Journal of Ecology, ISSN 0022-0477, E-ISSN 1365-2745, Vol. 102, no 6, p. 1606-1611Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

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.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 102, no 6, p. 1606-1611
Keywords [en]
climate, isoscapes, leaf area index, paleoecosystems, plant-soil (below-ground) interactions, productivity, stable isotopes, water stress, C-13, C-13(SOM)
National Category
Ecology Environmental Sciences
Research subject
Enviromental Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-39458DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12309ISI: 000344333800025Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-84910637757OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-39458DiVA, id: diva2:770299
Note

Funding Agencies:

City of Onkaparinga

University of New South Wales

University of Bonn

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

Available from: 2014-12-10 Created: 2014-12-10 Last updated: 2018-06-14Bibliographically approved

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Ekblad, Alf

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