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Forests 2015, 6(4), 914-928; doi:10.3390/f6040914

Localized Effects of Coarse Woody Material on Soil Oribatid Communities Diminish over 700 Years of Stand Development in Black-Spruce-Feathermoss Forests

1
CREAF, Cerdanyola del Vallès 08193, Spain
2
NSERC-UQAT-UQAM Chair in Sustainable Forest Management Research Group, Department of Biological Sciences, Université du Québec à Montréal, Montréal, Québec CP 8888, Succursale Centre-ville H3C 3P8, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Jarmo Holopainen and Eric J. Jokela
Received: 24 October 2014 / Revised: 22 February 2015 / Accepted: 19 March 2015 / Published: 27 March 2015
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Abstract

In the black-spruce clay-belt region of Western Québec, soil nutrients are limited due to paludification. Under paludified conditions, nutrient subsidies from decomposing surface coarse woody material (CWM) may be important particularly during the later stages of ecosystem development when deadwood from senescent trees has accumulated. For soil organisms, CWM can alter microclimatic conditions and resource availability. We compared abundance and species richness of oribatid mites below or adjacent to CWM across a chronosequence which spans ca. 700 years of stand development. We hypothesized that oribatid abundance and richness would be greater under the logs, particularly in later stages of forest development when logs may act as localized sources of carbon and nutrients in the paludified substrate. However, oribatid density was lower directly under CWM than adjacent to CWM but these differences were attenuated with time. We suggest that oribatids may be affected by soil compaction and also that such microarthropods are most likely feeding on recently fallen leaf litter, which may be rendered inaccessible by the presence of overlying CWM. This may also explain the progressive decline in oribatid density and diversity with time, which are presumably caused by decreases in litter availability due to self-thinning and Sphagnum growth. This is also supported by changes of different oribatid trophic groups, as litter feeders maintain different numbers relative to CWM with time while more generalist fungi feeders only show differences related to position in the beginning of the succession. View Full-Text
Keywords: bryophytes; chronosequence; ecosystem decline; paludification; soil microarthropods bryophytes; chronosequence; ecosystem decline; paludification; soil microarthropods
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Doblas-Miranda, E.; Work, T.T. Localized Effects of Coarse Woody Material on Soil Oribatid Communities Diminish over 700 Years of Stand Development in Black-Spruce-Feathermoss Forests. Forests 2015, 6, 914-928.

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