iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry


Carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus stoichiometry controls interspecific patterns of leaf litter-derived dissolved organic matter biodegradation in subtropical plantations of China

Pan-Pan Wu (1), Yi-Dong Ding (1), Su-Li Li (1), Xiao-Xin Sun (2), Yun Zhang (1), Rong Mao (1)   

iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry, Volume 14, Issue 1, Pages 80-85 (2021)
doi: https://doi.org/10.3832/ifor3609-013
Published: Feb 19, 2021 - Copyright © 2021 SISEF

Research Articles

Leaching of leaf litter is the primary source of dissolved organic matter (DOM) in forest soils. However, the interspecific variations of litter-derived DOM characteristics and biodegradation and their controlling factors remain unclear in subtropical plantations. Using fresh leaf litter of two broadleaf trees (Liquidambar formosana and Schima superba) and two coniferous trees (Pinus massoniana and P. elliottii) in subtropical plantations of China, we assessed the effects of tree species on the amounts and properties of litter-derived DOM with a short-term leaching experiment, and examined the interspecific variation of DOM biodegradation using a 56-day laboratory incubation method. Broadleaf tree litter generally leached higher amounts of dissolved organic carbon (DOC), dissolved total nitrogen (DTN), and dissolved total phosphorus (DTP) than coniferous tree litter. Compared with coniferous trees, broadleaf trees had higher DOM aromaticity and molecular weight, but lower DOC:DTP and DTN:DTP ratios in the litter leachates. Despite greater DOM aromaticity and molecular weight, broadleaf trees had higher litter-derived DOM biodegradation than coniferous trees because of the relatively lower DOC:DTP and DTN:DTP ratios. These results indicate the distinct patterns of litter-derived DOM characteristics and biodegradation between broadleaf and coniferous trees, and also highlight the predominant role of C:N:P stoichiometry in driving the interspecific variation of litter-derived DOM biodegradation in subtropical plantations of China.


Broadleaf Trees, Coniferous Trees, DOM Aromaticity, DOM Molecular Weight, Leaching

Authors’ address

Pan-Pan Wu 0000-0001-8731-3007
Yi-Dong Ding
Su-Li Li
Yun Zhang
Rong Mao 0000-0002-0469-2281
Key Laboratory of National Forestry and Grassland Administration on Forest Ecosystem Protection and Restoration of Poyang Lake Watershed, College of Forestry, Jiangxi, Agricultural University, Nanchang 330045 (China)
Xiao-Xin Sun
Key Laboratory of Sustainable Forest Ecosystem Management - Ministry of Education, School of Forestry, Northeast Forestry University, Harbin 150040 (China)

Corresponding author



Wu P-P, Ding Y-D, Li S-L, Sun X-X, Zhang Y, Mao R (2021). Carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus stoichiometry controls interspecific patterns of leaf litter-derived dissolved organic matter biodegradation in subtropical plantations of China. iForest 14: 80-85. - doi: 10.3832/ifor3609-013

Academic Editor

Claudia Cocozza

Paper history

Received: Aug 06, 2020
Accepted: Dec 16, 2020

First online: Feb 19, 2021
Publication Date: Feb 28, 2021
Publication Time: 2.17 months

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