Dynamics of fungal community composition, decomposition and resulting deadwood properties in logs of Fagus sylvatica, Picea abies and Pinus sylvestris

Arnstadt, Tobias GND; Hoppe, Björn GND; Kahl, Tiemo GND; Kellner, Harald; Krüger, Dirk; Bauhus, Jürgen GND; Hofrichter, Martin GND

In forest ecosystems, deadwood is an important component that provides habitat and contributes to nutrient cycles, as well as to carbon and water storage. The change of wood constituents, nutrients and microbial species richness in the field over the whole time of decomposition has only rarely been studied, in particular not in relation to oxidative enzyme activities (mediating lignin degradation) and different forest management regimes. To describe wood decomposition, we selected coarse woody debris (CWD) in form of 197 logs of Fagus sylvatica, Picea abies and Pinus sylvestris in forests with different management regimes across three regions in Germany. They were sampled and analyzed for wood density, water content, wood constituents (Klason and acid-soluble lignin, organic extractives, water-soluble lignin fragments), carbon, nitrogen and metals (Al, Ca, Cu, K, Mg, Mn and Zn). Furthermore, the activities of oxidative enzymes like laccase, manganese peroxidase, and general peroxidase were measured. Since filamentous fungi (Basidiomycota, Ascomycota) are the major biological agents of wood decomposition, fungal species richness based on sporocarps and molecular fingerprints was recorded. Higher forest management intensity had a negative effect on deadwood volume and in consequence on fungal species richness (sporocarps), but hardly to other analyzed variables. Furthermore, there were significant differences between the tree species for the concentrations of wood constituents and most nutrients as well as the activities of oxidative enzymes, although their course during decomposition was mostly similar among the tree species. We found that molecular species richness increased with the period of decomposition in contrast to the number of fruiting species, which was highest in the intermediate stage of decomposition. Both types of species richness increased with increasing volume of the CWD logs. Regarding the entire period of decomposition, white-rot fungi (WRF), based on identification of sporocarps, were the most abundant group of wood-decaying fungi in all three tree species. This corresponds well with the overall presence of laccase and peroxidases and the concomitant substantial loss of lignin, which points to the importance of these enzymes in deadwood decomposition. We found a continuous decomposition and decline of volume-related concentrations in wood constituents and nutrients with time of decomposition. Contrary to volume-related concentrations, the concentrations related to dry mass frequently increased.

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Arnstadta, Tobias / Hoppe, Björn / Kahl, Tiemo / et al: Dynamics of fungal community composition, decomposition and resulting deadwood properties in logs of Fagus sylvatica, Picea abies and Pinus sylvestris. 2016.

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