We determined the effects of tropospheric ozone on the chemical composition of Quercus ilex L. leaves and their decomposition, with a view to assessing the influence of ozone on nutrient cycling and the sustainability of Mediterranean holm oak forests. Forming one of the most widespread thermophilous vegetation communities in the area, Q. ilex is a dominant and widespread evergreen oak in the Mediterranean, where concentrations of tropospheric ozone are particularly high. The dynamics of carbon, nitrogen, lignin and cellulose concentrations were monitored for six months during the decomposition of leaves from plants subjected to controlled ozone exposure in open-top chambers. Ozone-exposed leaves, compared to unexposed leaves, showed no significant differences in C, N, lignin and cellulose concentrations prior to the incubation in mesocosms. However, during decomposition, leaves from plants exposed to ozone lost C significantly more slowly and showed a higher C/N ratio than unexposed leaves. Ozone exposure significantly slowed down the decomposition rate, indicating a negative effect of tropospheric ozone on nutrient cycling, which may reduce long-term sustainability of the holm oak forest.

Tropospheric ozone effects on chemical composition and decomposition rate of Quercus ilex L. leaves

BALDANTONI, Daniela;ALFANI, Anna
2011-01-01

Abstract

We determined the effects of tropospheric ozone on the chemical composition of Quercus ilex L. leaves and their decomposition, with a view to assessing the influence of ozone on nutrient cycling and the sustainability of Mediterranean holm oak forests. Forming one of the most widespread thermophilous vegetation communities in the area, Q. ilex is a dominant and widespread evergreen oak in the Mediterranean, where concentrations of tropospheric ozone are particularly high. The dynamics of carbon, nitrogen, lignin and cellulose concentrations were monitored for six months during the decomposition of leaves from plants subjected to controlled ozone exposure in open-top chambers. Ozone-exposed leaves, compared to unexposed leaves, showed no significant differences in C, N, lignin and cellulose concentrations prior to the incubation in mesocosms. However, during decomposition, leaves from plants exposed to ozone lost C significantly more slowly and showed a higher C/N ratio than unexposed leaves. Ozone exposure significantly slowed down the decomposition rate, indicating a negative effect of tropospheric ozone on nutrient cycling, which may reduce long-term sustainability of the holm oak forest.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11386/3019909
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