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Dynamic feedbacks among tree species traits, termites and an endangered mammal via deadwood turnover
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  • Chao Guo,
  • Hans Cornelissen,
  • Bin Tuo,
  • Hang Ci,
  • Enrong Yan
Chao Guo
East China Normal University
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Hans Cornelissen
VU University Amsterdam
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Bin Tuo
East China Normal University
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Hang Ci
East China Normal University
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Enrong Yan
East China Normal University
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Abstract

Biodiversity losses may impact ecosystem processes via food-webs. We hypothesized that time can modulate feedbacks among plant functional diversity, resource quality, prey and predator populations and litter turnover. Thereto we incubated coarse deadwood of 34 woody species, with and without (wood-feeding) termite access, in Chinese subtropical forests with and without (termite-feeding) pangolins. The results supported our hypothesis: in the first 12 months, termites amplified the positive linear relationship between % wood mass loss and initial wood quality (along a wood economics spectrum, WES). In contrast, between 12 and 18 months, termite-mediated consumption, and associated wood mass loss, showed a humpback relation with the initial WES. This shift in termite preference of deadwood species along the WES indicated complementary food availability to termites through time, thereby promoting both termites and endangered pangolins. Thus, plant functional diversity through time can help to sustain keystone consumers, predators and their effects on carbon turnover.