Humus forms in terrestrial ecosystems: a framework to biodiversity

Abstract : Humus forms are the seat of most biological transformations taking place in terrestrial ecosystems, being at the interface between plants, animals and microbes. The diversity of terrestrial humus forms (mor, moder and mull) can be attributed to the existence of different patterns (strategies) for the capture and use of resources by ecosystems, in ascending order of biodiversity and bioavailability. Arguments are found in the parallel development of humus forms and terrestrial ecosystems, in exclusion mechanisms between organisms living in different humus forms, and in palaeontological studies. The diversification of terrestrial life forms in the course of Earth history, concomitant with an improvement in resource availability due to the development of sedimentary layers at the surface of continents, may explain the successive appearance of more active humus forms enabling the co-existence of an increasing number of organisms. Contradictory reports about the relationships between biodiversity and stability of ecosystems can be explained by the existence of different belowground pathways making ecosystems more stable.
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Jean-François Ponge. Humus forms in terrestrial ecosystems: a framework to biodiversity. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, Elsevier, 2003, 35 (7), pp.935-945. ⟨10.1016/s0038-0717(03)00149-4⟩. ⟨hal-00498465⟩

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