PRS Publications

Food production is essential. Western Ag's lab is OPEN and receiving shipments of samples.

Have this publication emailed to you.

Decomposition and nutrient release from four epiphytic lichen litters in sub-boreal spruce forests

Campbell, J., A.L. Fredeen and C.E. Prescott. 2010. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 40:1473-1484

Abstract

Epiphytic lichens are highly abundant in many sub-boreal forests and may be important components of nutrient cycling. Decomposition of, and nutrient release from, two cyanolichens (with N2-fixing cyanobacterial partners) and two chlorolichens (with green-algal partners) were quantified to estimate N inputs from epiphytic lichen litter in late-seral forests. Initial decay rates were strongly correlated with initial %N; the high-N cyanolichen litters (Nephroma helveticum Ach. and Lobaria pulmonaria (L.) Hoffm.) lost 26% more mass than the lower-N chlorolichen litters (Alectoria sarmentosa (Ach.) Ach. and Platismatia glauca (L.) W.L.Culb. & C.F.Culb.) over the first 4 months. Morphological characteristics also influenced decay, as decomposition of the hair chlorolichen (A.sarmentosa) was similar to that of the foliose cyanolichens, despite an N concentration that was 87% lower. N was immediately released from cyanolichen litters and retained in chlorolichen litters. After 24months of decay, N concentrations remained highly divergent with 22-27 and 7-8mg N g-1 in cyanolichen and chlorolichen litter, respectively. Cyanolichen litter represents 0.1%-2.3% of the total aboveground litter biomass and 0.5%-11.5% of the total N input from aboveground litterfall. Decomposition of cyanolichen litter is estimated to release up to 2.1kg N ha-1 year-1 of newly fixed N that would otherwise be unavailable in mature sub-boreal forests.