Tree Species Identity Shapes Earthworm Communities
AbstractEarthworms are key organisms in forest ecosystems because they incorporate organic material into the soil and affect the activity of other soil organisms. Here, we investigated how tree species affect earthworm communities via litter and soil characteristics. In a 36-year old common garden experiment, replicated six times over Denmark, six tree species were planted in blocks: sycamore maple (Acer pseudoplatanus), beech (Fagus sylvatica), ash (Fraxinus excelsior), Norway spruce (Picea abies), pedunculate oak (Quercus robur) and lime (Tilia cordata). We studied the chemical characteristics of soil and foliar litter, and determined the forest floor turnover rate and the density and biomass of the earthworm species occurring in the stands. Tree species significantly affected earthworm communities via leaf litter and/or soil characteristics. Anecic earthworms were abundant under Fraxinus, Acer and Tilia, which is related to calcium-rich litter and low soil acidification. Epigeic earthworms were indifferent to calcium content in leaf litter and were shown to be mainly related to soil moisture content and litter C:P ratios. Almost no earthworms were found in Picea stands, likely because of the combined effects of recalcitrant litter, low pH and low soil moisture content. View Full-Text
Share & Cite This Article
Schelfhout, S.; Mertens, J.; Verheyen, K.; Vesterdal, L.; Baeten, L.; Muys, B.; De Schrijver, A. Tree Species Identity Shapes Earthworm Communities. Forests 2017, 8, 85.
Schelfhout S, Mertens J, Verheyen K, Vesterdal L, Baeten L, Muys B, De Schrijver A. Tree Species Identity Shapes Earthworm Communities. Forests. 2017; 8(3):85.Chicago/Turabian Style
Schelfhout, Stephanie; Mertens, Jan; Verheyen, Kris; Vesterdal, Lars; Baeten, Lander; Muys, Bart; De Schrijver, An. 2017. "Tree Species Identity Shapes Earthworm Communities." Forests 8, no. 3: 85.
Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.