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1 September 2018 Decomposition Processes in Coastal Wetlands: The Importance of Suaeda salsa Community for Soil Cellulose Decomposition
Yunmei Ping, Lijuan Cui, Xu Pan, Wei Li, Youzhi Li, Xiaoming Kang, Tianyu Song, Ping He
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Abstract

Coastal wetlands are ecologically important all over the world, and they are relatively unstable with dramatic changes in aboveground vegetation. However, it is still unclear how the aboveground vegetation changes will influence the functioning of coastal wetland ecosystems, especially the decomposition processes. Here, we carried out a cotton strip experiment to examine the effects of Suaeda salsa community on the soil properties and the associated cellulose decomposition rates in the coastal wetlands of Liao River delta (NE China). Our results showed that S. salsa community significantly affected the contents of soil C, N, P, base cations, organic matter and the soil electrical conductivity (EC), and such effects might vary among different types or densities of aboveground vegetation. The soil cellulose decomposition rate (in terms of cotton strip tensile strength loss, CTSL) was slowed down when aboveground S. salsa communities are experiencing degradation or have been totally replaced by Phragmites australis communities. Moreover, there were positive partial correlations between soil N and CTSL, and between soil EC and CTSL, but a negative partial correlation between soil C and CTSL. Our results emphasized the importance of S. salsa community in determining the soil cellulose decomposition rate in this coastal region. The results suggest that vegetation degradation in coastal wetlands might lead to various changes in soil properties and hence affect other aspects of ecosystem functioning and services, especially nutrient cycling.

Yunmei Ping, Lijuan Cui, Xu Pan, Wei Li, Youzhi Li, Xiaoming Kang, Tianyu Song, and Ping He "Decomposition Processes in Coastal Wetlands: The Importance of Suaeda salsa Community for Soil Cellulose Decomposition," Polish Journal of Ecology 66(3), 217-226, (1 September 2018). https://doi.org/10.3161/15052249PJE2018.66.3.002
Received: 1 August 2018; Published: 1 September 2018
JOURNAL ARTICLE
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KEYWORDS
coastal wetlands
cotton-strip assay
nutrient cycling
salinity
vegetation degradation
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