Deadwood decomposition has been relatively well studied, but how various decomposition drivers interact with each other and how these interactions contribute to wood decay are still unclear. Therefore, we aim to investigate the interactions among tree traits, fungi decomposers and environmental factors and how do such interactions affect stem decomposition.
Dead wood is a source of life; it provides a habitat and substrate for insects and fungi, and it plays an important role in the local and global carbon and nutrient cycle when carbon and nutrients, locked up in dead wood, becomes available through decomposition. A large part of forest biodiversity is associated with deadwood; for example, Dutch forests contain only around 40 shrub and tree species, but as much as 1250 species of wood-inhabiting fungi (REF). The crucial role of dead wood for biodiversity and ecosystem functioning has been recognized by forest managers, and since the 1980s the amount of dead wood in Dutch forests has increased steadily. However, up to now, most emphasis has been given to the quantity rather than the quality of dead wood. The question is how tree species and their wood traits shape the diversity and structure of fungal communities, and how these fungal communities, in turn affect wood decomposition rates and biogeochemical cycling?
This research aims to investigate the interactions among tree functional traits, fungi decomposers, as well as environmental factors and how do such interactions affect stem decomposition. We will do so, by taking advantage of a unique experiment (LOGLIFE), in which logs of 24 temperate tree species have been incubated in a common garden experiment in a Dutch temperate forest. We will first quantify the physical and chemical traits of these tree species, and then assess the diversity and composition of Wood-inhabiting fungi (WIF) in decaying logs via high-throughput sequencing. Finally, we will quantify the decomposition rate of 24 tree and disentangle how biotic and abiotic