Silicon–vegetation interaction in multiple ecosystems: a review
Article first published online: 20 MAR 2013
© 2013 International Association for Vegetation Science
Journal of Vegetation Science
Volume 25, Issue 1, pages 301–313, January 2014
How to Cite
Schoelynck, J., Müller, F., Vandevenne, F., Bal, K., Barão, L., Smis, A., Opdekamp, W., Meire, P., Struyf, E. (2014), Silicon–vegetation interaction in multiple ecosystems: a review. Journal of Vegetation Science, 25: 301–313. doi: 10.1111/jvs.12055
- Issue published online: 16 DEC 2013
- Article first published online: 20 MAR 2013
- Manuscript Accepted: 17 JAN 2013
- Manuscript Received: 16 FEB 2011
- University of Antwerp. Grant Number: G014609N
- Hamburg Science and Research Foundation
- Carbon sequestration;
- Land use;
- Lowland river;
- Nature management;
- Tidal wetlands
How does the interaction between silicon (Si) and vegetation affect local and global ecological processes, higher levels of ecological organization, and terrestrial- and watershed-scale Si fluxes?
We selected several ecosystems throughout the world, from river headwaters to estuaries, being examples of (i) terrestrial vegetation, (ii) aquatic and floodplain vegetation, and (iii) tidal wetland vegetation.
We provide examples of the importance of linking Si use by terrestrial and aquatic vegetation, to larger-scale Si flux consequences towards and through rivers. Cross-disciplinary studies achieve the best understanding of vegetation effects on the global Si cycle, and the role of Si as a plant functional trait.
Si use by plants has not always received the research attention of other elements. Yet, today the importance of Si for plant functioning is slowly becoming better understood. Silicon is a crucial element for many plant species, being important for decomposition processes, plant competitiveness and stress tolerance. The inclusion by vegetation scientists of Si uptake as a plant functional trait is important to assess links between plant physiology, plant distribution and plant tolerance to environmental changes, but also to understand the role of vegetation on Si fluxes through the watershed. However, lack of knowledge regarding the biological control of the Si cycle hinders accurate quantification. Only a concerted effort bringing scientists together from a broad array of disciplines will provide this new direction for research on vegetation–Si cycling.