Ni, X., Yang, W., Li, H., Xu, L., He, J., Tan, B. and Wu, F. 2014. The responses of early foliar litter humification to reduced snow cover during winter in an alpine forest. Can. J. Soil Sci. 94: 453-461. Snow cover can be reduced by ongoing winter warming in alpine biomes, affecting foliar litter humification, but few reports are available. To quantitatively clarify how early foliar litter humification responds to reduced snow cover in winter, a field litterbag experiment was conducted in an alpine forest in southwestern China. Mass losses, ΔlogK, E4/E6, degrees of humification and humification rates of six typical local foliar litters were investigated at the snow formation, snow cover and snow melt stage under snowpack levels differing in depth (deep snowpack, medium snowpack, thin snowpack, no snowpack) from November 2012 to April 2013. The results indicated that 14-15% of willow (Salix paraplesia), 8-9% of fir (Abies faxoniana), 6-7% of birch (Betula albo-sinensis), 5-8% of cypress (Sabina saltuaria), larch (Larix mastersiana) and azalea (Rhododendron lapponicum) foliar litter was humified, which was about 50% of what decomposed during the first winter. Moreover, the early humification of foliar litter (except for fir and birch) responded positively to the reduced snow cover, but mass loss exhibited negative responses. Such results suggest that reduced snow cover in winter would increase soil carbon or other material sequestration in the scenario of climate change.
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Vol. 94 • No. 4