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Evaluation of the effects of riparian forest structure, and soil and litter properties, on leaf decomposition rates

Grant number: 18/21913-8
Support Opportunities:Regular Research Grants
Duration: May 01, 2019 - December 31, 2021
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Ecology - Ecosystems Ecology
Principal Investigator:Marcel Okamoto Tanaka
Grantee:Marcel Okamoto Tanaka
Host Institution: Centro de Ciências Biológicas e da Saúde (CCBS). Universidade Federal de São Carlos (UFSCAR). São Carlos , SP, Brazil
Associated researchers: Andréa Lúcia Teixeira de Souza ; Geertje Franciska Veen


Riparian forests provide important environmental goods and services and have large ecological importance in watersheds, but these forests are being rapidly deforested and degraded. The monitoring of ecosystem functions from riparian forests in different states of conservation is important to determine adequate management strategies. Nutrient cycling and carbon fixation are important functions of these forests, and are strongly influenced by the decomposition rates of the organic matter, especially litter. The process of litter decomposition is complex and involves interactions among the physical, chemical, and biological characteristics of the soil, litter chemical traits, local vegetation structure, and climatic variation. Here we will experimentally evaluate, both in the field and in greenhouse, how some of these interactions influence the organic matter decomposition rates. Field experiments will be carried out in a cronosequence of riparian forests under restoration with different ages, also including three remnants and three deforested areas as controls, to evaluate if joint differences in vegetation structure, soil fertility, and litter chemical traits influence decomposition rates. In a second experiment, we will evaluate if differences in soil fertility and litter chemical traits influence microbial communities so that a Home Field Advantage is developed, a theory that suggests that local adaptation of microbial communities can accelerate the decomposition of local-produced litter when compared to litter produced in other sites. The third experiment, which will be carried out in a greenhouse, aims to evaluate if differences in soil fertility influence organic matter decomposition rates independently of vegetation structure. The results of these experiments will allow evaluating whether interactions between riparian forest functional diversity and soil properties influence the decomposition rates of organic matter, enabling the development of appropriate indicators for the monitoring of these ecosystem functions. (AU)

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Scientific publications
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
DE GODOY FERNANDES, PEDRO HENRIQUE; DE SOUZA, ANDREA LUCIA TEIXEIRA; TANAKA, MARCEL OKAMOTO; SEBASTIANI, RENATA. Decomposition and stabilization of organic matter in an old-growth tropical riparian forest: effects of soil properties and vegetation structure. FOREST ECOSYSTEMS, v. 8, n. 1, . (18/21913-8)

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