Murdoch University Research Repository

Welcome to the Murdoch University Research Repository

The Murdoch University Research Repository is an open access digital collection of research
created by Murdoch University staff, researchers and postgraduate students.

Learn more

The cover uncovered: Bark control over wood decomposition

Dossa, G.G.O., Schaefer, D., Zhang, J.-L., Tao, J.-P., Cao, K.-F., Corlett, R.T., Cunningham, A.B., Xu, J.-C., Cornelissen, J.H.C., Harrison, R.D. and Wardle, D. (2018) The cover uncovered: Bark control over wood decomposition. Journal of Ecology, 106 (6). pp. 2147-2160.

Link to Published Version:
*Subscription may be required


1. Woody debris (WD) represents a globally significant carbon stock and its decomposition returns nutrients to the soil while providing habitat to microbes, plants and animals. Understanding what drives WD decomposition is therefore important.
2. WD decomposition rates differ greatly among species. However, the role of bark in the process remains poorly known.
3. We ask how, and how much, interspecific variation in bark functional traits related to growth and protection have afterlife effects on the decomposition of wood, partly mediated by animals. We examine the roles of bark cover and bark traits throughout the wood decomposition process.
4. Synthesis. We find that: (1) bark effects on WD decomposition are species‐ and wood size‐specific, (2) bark can enhance coarser WD decomposition but slows twig decomposition in some species, and (3) bark acts as an environmental filter to faunal assemblages in the early stage of wood decomposition.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Veterinary and Life Sciences
Publisher: Wiley
Copyright: © 2018 British Ecological Society
Item Control Page Item Control Page