Effect of woody plant expansion on decomposition of fine root mixtures in a grass-dominated temperate wetland

  • Xinhou Zhang
  • Liping Shan
  • Wenwen Tan
  • Rong MaoEmail author
Short Communication


Little is known about the effect of woody plant expansion on decomposition of root mixtures in grass-dominant temperate wetlands. Here, we collected fine roots (< 1 mm) of Deyeuxia angustifolia (grass) and Betula fruticosa (shrub) from a freshwater wetland in the Sanjiang Plain, Northeast China, and decomposition rates of their monocultures and mixtures (with 2:1 and 1:2 mass ratios) were determined by measuring carbon (C) mineralization and mass loss with a 365 days incubation experiment. Meanwhile, litter mixing effects were assessed by the differences in observed decomposition rates of root mixtures and predicted values based on the performance of component species decomposing alone. Betula fruticosa fine roots had higher N, total polyphenol, and condensed tannin concentrations than D. angustifolia fine roots. By the end of incubation, B. fruticosa fine roots generally had greater C mineralization rate and mass loss than the other three root treatments. Notably, both C mineralization rate and mass loss were lower than the expected values in the B. fruticosa-dominant mixture, whereas there were no significant differences between observed and expected values in the D. angustifolia-dominant mixture. Our findings imply that the increase in woody plant abundance will exert influences on fine root decomposition rates through altered substrate quality and litter mixing effects in grass-dominated temperate wetlands.


Mass loss Microbial respiration Non-additive effect The Sanjiang Plain Shrub expansion 



This study was financed by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos. 41671091, 31570479, and 41571097) and National Key Research and Development Project (2016YFA0602303). We are grateful to two anonymous reviewers and the editor for helpful comments.


This study was financed by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos. 41671091, 31570479, and 41571097) and National Key Research and Development Project (2016YFA0602303).

Supplementary material

11273_2019_9698_MOESM1_ESM.docx (515 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 514 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of EnvironmentNanjing Normal UniversityNanjingChina
  2. 2.Key Laboratory of State Forestry and Grassland Administration on Forest Ecosystem Protection and Restoration of Poyang Lake Watershed, College of ForestryJiangxi Agricultural UniversityNanchangChina
  3. 3.Key Laboratory of Wetland Ecology and EnvironmentNortheast Institute of Geography and Agroecology, Chinese Academy of SciencesChangchunChina

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