The contribution of abiotic processes to buried litter decomposition in the northern Chihuahuan Desert

TitleThe contribution of abiotic processes to buried litter decomposition in the northern Chihuahuan Desert
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1989
AuthorsMoorhead DL, Reynolds JF
JournalOecologia
Volume79
Pagination133-135
Date Published1989
Accession NumberJRN00109
Call Number00225
Keywordsabiotic processes,decomposition, article, articles, biocide, HgCl2 and CaSO4, biocide,also SEE <PESTICIDE, HERBICIDE>, copper sulfate, decomposition, abiotic processes, decomposition, litter, journal, journals, Larrea,decomposition, litter,Larrea, mercuric chloride
Abstract

Creosotebush (Larrea tridentata) fine litter was treated with either the general biocide HgCl2 and CuSO4 or water (controls) and buried 5 cm beneath the soil surface in the northern Chihuahuan Desert. The treated litter showed significantly less mass loss than controls during the three month summer-autumn field study; controls lost about 20% of the original mass while treated litter lost less than 2%. In addition, the total nitrogen content of the control litter increased from and initial concentrations of about 14.08 g kg-1 to 17.62 g kg-1 dry weight by the end of the study, while treated litter nitrogen content decreased to 13.30 g kg-1. Results suggest abiotic processes other than leaching have little effect on the decomposition of buried litter in this environment.

URLfiles/bibliography/JRN00109.pdf
DOI10.1007/BF00378250