Predicting leaf litter decomposability: an exploratory assessment of leaf traits, litter traits and spectral properties in six Mediterranean herbaceous species

Natalia Pérez Harguindeguy, Jacques Cortez, Eric Garnier, Dominique Gillon, María Poca

Resumen


Ecología Austral, 25:54-64 (2015)

Algunos trabajos han explorado métodos fáciles y rápidos de evaluar la decomponibilidad de la broza de grandes conjuntos de especies. Aquí evaluamos tres de los más utilizados en seis especies mediterráneas herbáceas de diferentes familias y formas de vida: (1) ‘caracteres de hojas verdes’: caracteres de hojas vivas relacionadas a las estrategias de vida de las plantas; (2) ‘caracteres de la broza’: respiración de la broza durante incubaciones in vitro y propiedades iniciales de la broza; (3) ‘propiedades espectrales de las hojas y de la broza’: características espectrales (NIR) de las hojas verdes y de la broza. Analizamos las relaciones entre estos métodos y su consistencia para evaluar la tasa de descomposición de la broza en el campo. Las propiedades espectrales de hojas verdes fueron las más precisas para predecir la descomponibilidad a campo, seguidas por el contenido de materia seca de las hojas (LDMC) y el contenido inicial de compuestos no lábiles de la broza. La descomponibilidad in vitro se correlacionó marginalmente con la descomponibilidad a campo. La selección entre los predictores puede depender, entonces, de los instrumentos disponibles. LDMC es el método más económico y fácil de medir para grandes conjuntos de especies que, a su vez, fue constante dentro de las especies. Alternativamente, en el caso de tener el equipamiento y las calibraciones disponibles, los espectros NIR de las hojas verdes y de la broza inicial representan un método rápido para estimar la descomponibilidad y calidad de la broza al mismo tiempo. Nuestros resultados confirman evidencias previas que para las especies de sistemas semiáridos caracteres estructurales como LDMC y el contenido de compuestos no lábiles son propiedades importantes en el control de la descomponibilidad de la broza. La validez de nuestras conclusiones para un rango mayor de especies debería probarse en futuros estudios.


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