CSPs: Leaf litter quantity in CSPs (2009 - 2012): litter species identity

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Dataset Abstract

Litterfall production is an important linkage between aboveground and belowground. Most studies are carried out in tropical forests or a single forest plantation, few leaf litter data, however, are available for subtropical forests along a chronosequence dominated by few species. We try to get the litterfall data of a complex subtropical forest with different successional stages. We intented to find out how the litter quantity and leaf litter N and C change along a chronosequence in a subtropical forest.

Dataset Design

Litterfall was collected monthly from January 2009 until December 2012. The litter (2010, 2011) was sorted into Castanopsis eyrei, Schima superb, Pinus massoniana, Cyclobalanopsis glauca, Quercus serrata var. brevipetiolata, Lithocarpus glaber. The remaining material was sorted into three groups: evergreen or deciduous species leaves and non-leaf components.

Litter was weighed after being oven dried at 80°C for 24 h to constant weight.

Samples of the 2010 foliar litter were pooled at the community level, and ground into powder using a ball mill (NM200, Retsch, Haan, Germany). Total C and N concentrations at the community level were determined using an elemental analyzer (2400 II CHN elemental analyzer, Perkin-Elmer, USA) with a combustion temperature of 950°C and a reduction temperature of 640°C.

Spatial Extent

The experiment was carried out in Gutianshan National Nature Reserve in the western part of Zhejiang province of China (29°8'18" – 29°17'29" N, 118°2'14" – 118°11'12" E). It has the subtropical monsoon climate with an annual average temperature of 15.1°C and annual average precipitation of 1963.7mm (Geißler,2010).

Around the Gutianshan NRR, deforestation has occurred during different periods in the old days. Most of the stands are secondary forests, evidenced by maximum tree ages of 180 years. Thus, 27 plots called Comparative Study Plots (CSPs) could be established in 2009 with different successional stages. Plots were randomly selected, with a size of 30 x 30 m each. In horizontal projection this corresponded to an average area of 0.074 ha, close to the Chinese areal measure of 1 mu (0.067 ha). Stand ages were defined by the diameter at breast height (dbh) of all trees with > 10 cm dbh and age of the fifth largest tree individual in a plot, based on an allometric regression stem cores taken from 159 trees from 64 different tree species (Bruelheide et al., 2011).In the December of 2008, four litterfall traps were set up in the corners of the centre subplot of each plot, and one in the middle of each plot. A nylon net (1 mm mesh) with a trapping area of 0.75 m × 0.75 m was placed over the PVC frame with a height of 1.5 m.


The data has not yet been used for publications.

Temporal Extent

Litterfall was collected monthly from January 2009 until now.

Taxonomic Extent

In total, 148 woody species from 46 families were recorded with at least one individual > 1 m. Maximum richness was 69 woody species per 30 x 30 m plot. A total of 21 species occurred with only one individual in one of the CSPs, and further 14 species (but in some cases multiple individuals) occurred in only one CSP (Bruelheide et al., 2011). We separate the litter of 2010 and 2011, getting the litterfall data of six species: Castanopsis eyrei, Schima superb, Pinus massoniana, Cyclobalanopsis glauca, Quercus serrata var. brevipetiolata, Lithocarpus glaber.

Measurement Circumstances

In 2010.12 and 2011.7, litter was unable to be collected because of the heavy snow and rain in that month. The missing month litter was accumulated and collected in the next month. We estimated the missing month litter according to the ratio of those two months calculated by other years. The data set is not complete here.

Data Analysis

In each CSP, litterfall production in five litter traps of each month was summed first, and then was divided by the area of the trap to calculate the litterfall mass per unit area.

Paper proposal submissions




Data columns available in the raw data part of this dataset

year of sampling
Data group: Date time information
Keywords: date
collecting month
Data group: Date time information
Keywords: date
Reasearch plots of the Biodiversity - Ecosystem functioning experiment (BEF-China). There are three main sites for research plots in the BEF Experiment: Comparative Study Plots (CSP) in the Gutianshan Nature Reserve, having a size of 30x30m^2, measured on the ground.
Data group: BEF research plot name
Keywords: CSP, location
litter biomass
Unit: g/m2
Data group: Litter Biomass
Keywords: biomass, litter, response variable
species of the litter
Data group: Scientific plant species name
Keywords: species
Quercus serrata
Cyclobalanopsis glauca
Pinus massoniana
Lithocarpus glaber
Castanopsis eyrei
If the species that prodced the litter could not be identified, the litter was divided into 'evergreen' and 'deciduous' leaf litter or 'not a tree'
Data group: Helper
Keywords: leaf litter. Litter
not tree
Summary variable of original column entries in 'species of the litter', without "evergreen", "deciduous" or "not tree".
Data group: Helper
Keywords: species
Castanopsis eyrei
Cyclobalanopsis glauca
Lithocarpus glaber
* Eichenberg, D. also contributed to this column.