Stronger effects of termites than microbes on wood decomposition in a subtropical forest.

  • Authors: Wu, Chunsheng; Ulyshen, Michael D.; Shu, Chunjie; Zhang, Zhijian; Zhang, Yi; Liu, Yuanqiu; Geoff Wang, G.
  • Publication Year: 2021
  • Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
  • Source: Forest Ecology and Management
  • DOI: 10.1016/j.foreco.2021.119263

Abstract

Deadwood contains a sizeable proportion of total forest C, and its decomposition transfers organic C to the atmosphere, other organisms and soils. Microbes have traditionally been thought to be the primary drivers of woodmdecomposition worldwide, but few studies have tested the relative importance of termites to this process. The aim of this study was to compare the relative contributions of microbes and termites to wood (Cinnamomum camphora) decomposition by conducting a field experiment of termite access (with and without termite exclusion)and soil contact (with and without soil contact) treatments in subtropical China. After a two-year period, termites were responsible for an estimated 55.7% and 48.9% of observed wood loss from wood blocks with andmwithout soil contact, respectively. Wood in direct contact with the soil decomposed 1.4 times as fast as wood separated from the soil. Our results show that termites can exceed microbes in importance to wood decomposition in subtropical forests and highlight the importance of soil contact in determining decay rates.

  • Citation: Wu, Chunsheng; Ulyshen, Michael D.; Shu, Chunjie; Zhang, Zhijian; Zhang, Yi; Liu, Yuanqiu; Geoff Wang, G. 2021. Stronger effects of termites than microbes on wood decomposition in a subtropical forest. Forest Ecology and Management. 493(Suppl. 1): 119263-. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foreco.2021.119263.
  • Keywords: Blattodea, Deadwood, Ecosystem service, Isoptera, Reticulitermes longicephalus, Saproxylic
  • Posted Date: March 16, 2022
  • Modified Date: March 17, 2022
  • Print Publications Are No Longer Available

    In an ongoing effort to be fiscally responsible, the Southern Research Station (SRS) will no longer produce and distribute hard copies of our publications. Many SRS publications are available at cost via the Government Printing Office (GPO). Electronic versions of publications may be downloaded, printed, and distributed.

    Publication Notes

    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
    • Our online publications are scanned and captured using Adobe Acrobat. During the capture process some typographical errors may occur. Please contact the SRS webmaster if you notice any errors which make this publication unusable.
    • To view this article, download the latest version of Adobe Acrobat Reader.