Vol.90, No.2, 2021, pp.635-650, doi:10.32604/phyton.2021.014298
Degree of Humification in Fresh Litter from a Subtropical Mixed Plantation Forest in Southwest China
  • Fujia Wu1, Chengming You2, Jie Du3, Xiangjun Pei4,*, Ningfei Lei4, Bo Tan2, Huixing Song1,*
1 College of Landscape Architecture, Sichuan Agricultural University, Chengdu, 611130, China
2 Institute of Ecology & Forestry, Sichuan Agricultural University, Forestry Ecological Engineering in Upper Reaches of Yangtze River Key Laboratory of Sichuan Province, Chengdu, 611130, China
3 Jiuzhaigou National Nature Reserve Administration, Aba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, Aba, 623402, China
4 Institute of Ecological Environment, Chengdu University of Technology, Chengdu, 610059, China
* Corresponding Author: Xiangjun Pei. Email: ; Huixing Song. Email:
Received 16 September 2020; Accepted 11 November 2020; Issue published 07 February 2021
The humification degree of fresh litter directly controls the accumulation of soil humus derived from plant litter, but very little information on this process is available. Planted forests are well known to restrict soil fertility, which is often indicated by the soil humus level. In this study, fresh litter was collected during different plant phenological stages during 2016 and 2017 in a mixed plantation in Southwest China. The values of hue coefficient ΔlogK (absorbance ratio of 400 nm and 600 nm on a logarithmic scale), optical density E4/E6 (absorbance ratio of 400 nm and 600 nm) and A600/C (absorbance at 600 mm per mg of carbon per ml of extraction) and the concentration of extractable humus carbon (HC) were determined in four litter components (foliar, twigs, reproductive organs and miscellaneous) of the dominant species (Pterocarya stenoptera, Quercus acutissima, Cunninghamia lanceolata and Toxicodendron vernicifluum). All of the litter components exhibited obvious humification characteristics, and showed the highest concentration of extractable HC during the leaf maturation period. The miscellaneous and foliar litters showed greater humification than the other litter types. The components of Pterocarya stenoptera litter exhibited greater degrees of humification than those of the other species, with lower ΔlogK and E4/E6 values and higher A600/C values. The litter from coniferous and evergreen species showed lower humification than that from broad-leaf and deciduous species regardless of the litter component examined. The present results provide new insights into the management of plantations and theoretical data to accurately improve the quality of plantations and maintain soil fertility under a global change.
Fresh litter; humification; plantations; extractable humus carbon
Cite This Article
Wu, F., You, C., Du, J., Pei, X., Lei, N. et al. (2021). Degree of Humification in Fresh Litter from a Subtropical Mixed Plantation Forest in Southwest China. Phyton-International Journal of Experimental Botany, 90(2), 635–650.
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