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Disturbance alters relationships between soil carbon pools and aboveground vegetation attributes in an anthropogenic peatland in Patagonia
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  • Javier Lopatin,
  • Rocío Araya-Lopéz,
  • Mauricio Galleguillos,
  • Jorge Perez
Javier Lopatin
Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez

Corresponding Author:javierlopatin@gmail.com

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Rocío Araya-Lopéz
Deakin University
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Mauricio Galleguillos
Universidad de Chile
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Jorge Perez
Universidad de Chile
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1 Vegetation attributes derived from species and plant functional types (PFTs) directly or indirectly drive the carbon (C) cycle in peatlands. However, anthropogenic-based disturbances may alter petland soil-plant interactions and their ability to sequester carbon. Likewise, it is unclear how the soil-plant linkages among different soil C decomposition-based pools and plant attributes vary under disturbance conditions. 2 We aimed to assess how anthropogenic disturbances affect the relationships between aboveground vegetation attributes and belowground C pools in a peatland located in Northern Patagonia, Chile. We further evaluated if attributes derived from PFTs are better suited to predict soil C pools than attributes derived from species. We used structural equation modeling and regression analyses to explore these differences. 3 We found that undisturbed peatland has more soil-plant significant relationships between soil C pools and vegetation attributes, yielding higher predictive accuracies than disturbed areas. The species-based attributes yielded consistently better results predicting soil C pools than PFT-based attributes. However, PFT-based information showed significant interactions with the highly-decomposed C pools in the undisturbed peatland. Likewise, plant height and diversity were only significant with C pools in the undisturbed peatland. 4 We observed that water-logged plant communities have different soil-plant interactions than dryer communities. These differences were observed in both areas but were higher in the disturbed peatland, making it impossible to find meaningful soil-plant relationships across vegetation types and taxa. 5 Our results highlight the importance of accounting for disturbance or management when linking vegetation attributes to soil C pools in peatlands. This implies that up-to-date extensive monitoring of peatland disturbances is needed to accurately monitor soil C attributes at the regional level using vegetation as proxies. We also need to aggregate species into specific plant functional types that hold these soil-plant interactions across landscapes, regions, and disturbances to generalize the soil-plant relationships accurately.
09 Jun 2021Submitted to Ecology and Evolution
10 Jun 2021Submission Checks Completed
10 Jun 2021Assigned to Editor
16 Jun 2021Reviewer(s) Assigned
23 Jul 2021Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
14 Sep 2021Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
09 Dec 20211st Revision Received
10 Dec 2021Submission Checks Completed
10 Dec 2021Assigned to Editor
10 Dec 2021Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
04 Feb 2022Editorial Decision: Accept
Mar 2022Published in Ecology and Evolution volume 12 issue 3. 10.1002/ece3.8694