"Context: We investigated the relationships between decay classes, morphological characteristics and chemical compounds in Abies alba Mill. and Fagus sylvatica L. stumps in two forest stands in the central Apennines (Italy). The analysis of deadwood decomposition is important in estimating carbon sequestration potential and carbon residence time in forest ecosystems. In addition, deadwood decomposition affects nutrient cycle and microhabitat distribution.. Aims: The overall aim of this study was to investigate the decomposition processes in a mountainous Mediterranean ecosystem, and specifically to assess changes in chemical variables (lignin, cellulose, carbon and nitrogen content) in deadwood during the decomposition process, in relation to decay classes and to the species. . Methods: Cross-sections were collected from stumps. Samples were assigned to visually discernible decay classes, and cellulose, lignin and carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) content in relation to total dry mass were analysed during decay processes.. Results: Results showed how C:N ratio decreased along decades due to an increase in nitrogen content. On the contrary, carbon concentration in stumps remained substantially stable throughout the years. Lignin degraded slowly in comparison with cellulose and differences between species were observed.. Conclusion: The hypothesis that the conifer species would decompose faster than the deciduous species did not prove correct. The decay progression of beech and silver fir in relation to wood characteristics and decay classes in the studied forest ecosystem needs further studies to interpret the relative abundance of chemical compounds and their role in defining the physical properties of decomposing wood. Results may help to improve our understanding of terrestrial nutrient cycles in a Mediterranean-type mountain environment and to clarify the role of forest ecosystems, and particularly of deadwood, on carbon sequestration. We recommend performing long-term monitoring in Mediterranean forests to investigate the different factors that may influence deadwood decomposition, including edaphic and climatic conditions, and saproxylics activities.. "
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI):||10.1007/s13595-012-0230-3|
|Codice identificativo ISI:||WOS:000312770700010|
|Codice identificativo Scopus:||2-s2.0-84871766081|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|