Forage quality for herbivores and litter quality for decomposers are two important plant properties affecting ecosystem carbon and nutrient cycling. In agreement with “afterlife” effect hypothesis, Bumb et al. find a positive relationship between digestibility and decomposition for both leaves and stems of 16 species from low productive Mediterranean rangelands.
The two degradation processes are shown to be strongly driven by the fibre concentration and the dry matter content of organs. This study demonstrates the key role of plant traits to link above and below ground processes, which involve different types of organisms in the ecosystem.
Bumb, I., Garnier, E., Coq, S., Nahmani, J., Del Rey Granado, M., Gimenez, O., & Kazakou, E. (2018). Traits determining the digestibility–decomposability relationships in species from Mediterranean rangelands. Annals of Botany, 121(3), 459–469. https://doi.org/10.1093/aob/mcx175