These two papers are global meta-analyses of the *species* differences in leaf and wood decomposition. The original concept for this type of work comes from a seminal paper on species effects on decomposition–Cornelissen (1996). (This paper was recently recognized as one of the most influential papers in the history of Journal of Ecology). Much of my work on this area is done in collaboration with Hans.
After assembling as much data as possible from researchers all across the world it turns out that the species effects for leaves and for wood are both very large.
Weedon J.T., W.K. Cornwell, Cornelissen J.H.C., Zanne A., Wirth C. and Coomes D. 2009. Global meta-analysis of wood decomposition rates: the role of wood traits. Ecology Letters 12: 45–56 full-text pdf
Cornwell, W.K., J.H.C. Cornelissen, et al. 2008. Plant species traits are the predominant control on litter decomposition rates within biomes worldwide. Ecology Letters 11: 1065-1071 full-text pdf
Follow on this work we used a more complex Bayesian model to estimate the climate-normalized decomposability for both leaves and wood:
K.A. Pietsch, K. Ogle, J.H.C. Cornelissen, W.K. Cornwell, G. Bönisch, and others. 2014. Global relationship of wood, leaf litter decomposability: the role of functional traits within, across plant organs. Global Ecology and Biogeography Early View
The magnitude of species effects on decomposability are large enough to be important on the global scale. In this paper we used the data from the meta-analyses above to parameterize a global model of the carbon cycle:
Brovkin, V., van Bodegom, P. M., Kleinen, T., Wirth, C., Cornwell, W. K., Cornelissen, J. H. C., & Kattge, J. 2012. Plant-driven variation in decomposition rates improves projections of global litter stock distribution. Biogeosciences, 9(1). full-text pdf