iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry


The losses of condensed tannins in six foliar litters vary with gap position and season in an alpine forest

Han Li (1), Fuzhong Wu (1-2), Wanqin Yang (1-2)   , Liya Xu (1), Xiangyin Ni (1), Jie He (1), Bo Tan (1-2), Yi Hu (1), Meta Francis Justin (1)

iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry, Volume 9, Issue 6, Pages 910-918 (2016)
doi: https://doi.org/10.3832/ifor1738-009
Published: Aug 04, 2016 - Copyright © 2016 SISEF

Research Articles

Condensed tannins (CTs) have been considered to be intrinsic variables that determine litter decomposition. Forest gaps and the surrounding crown canopies may locally influence the microenvironmental factors, thus affecting the losses of CTs from litter. However, little information is available about the dynamics of CTs loss in forest gaps. In this study, litterbags containing foliar litter of Minjiang fir (Abies faxoniana), red birch (Betula albosinensis), Masters larch (Larix mastersiana), cypress (Sabina saltuaria), Kangding willow (Salix paraplesia), and Lapland azalea (Rhododendron lapponicum), were placed on the forest floor at differet positions from the gap center to the closed canopy in the alpine Minjiang fir forest located in the upper reaches of the Yangtze River and the eastern Tibetan Plateau (China). The samples were retrieved during the periods of snow formation, snow cover, snow melt and in the growing season, and the CTs content was measured at each time point. During the first year, all six types of foliar litter experienced high losses of CTs with values ranging from 70.18% to 96.67%. Forest gaps accelerated litter CTs losses in the winter but inhibited CTs losses in the growing season, which demonstrated significant seasonal differences. Additionally, the litter of conifers exhibited greater CTs losses in the winter, especially during the snow formation period, whereas the litter of broadleaved trees showed greater CTs losses during the growing season. These results indicate that the predicted reductions in snow depth resulting from future winter warming and the loss of forest gaps due to forest regeneration will inhibit the decomposition of CTs in the litter of alpine forest ecosystems, which will slow soil carbon sequestration from foliar litter in cold biomes.


Forest Gap, Condensed Tannins, Foliar Litter, Seasonal Snowpack, Alpine Forest

Authors’ address

Han Li
Fuzhong Wu
Wanqin Yang
Liya Xu
Xiangyin Ni
Jie He
Bo Tan
Yi Hu
Meta Francis Justin
Long-term Research Station of Alpine Forest Ecosystems, Institute of Ecology and Forestry, Sichuan Agricultural University, Chengdu 611130 (China)
Fuzhong Wu
Wanqin Yang
Bo Tan
Collaborative Innovation Center of Ecological Security in the Upper Reaches of Yangtze River, Chengdu 611130 (China)

Corresponding author

Wanqin Yang


Li H, Wu F, Yang W, Xu L, Ni X, He J, Tan B, Hu Y, Justin MF (2016). The losses of condensed tannins in six foliar litters vary with gap position and season in an alpine forest. iForest 9: 910-918. - doi: 10.3832/ifor1738-009

Academic Editor

Giustino Tonon

Paper history

Received: Jun 10, 2015
Accepted: May 02, 2016

First online: Aug 04, 2016
Publication Date: Dec 14, 2016
Publication Time: 3.13 months

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