|Title||The contribution of rodents to decomposition processes in a desert ecosystem|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||1983|
|Authors||Steinberger Y, Whitford WG|
|Journal||Journal of Arid Environments|
|Keywords||article, articles, journal, journals, litter decomposition,rodents, litter,nitrogen, nitrogen,litter, rodent,decomposition processes|
Excavations made by desert rodents during the late non-growing season (April-August) accumulated litter amounts varying between 5.2 and 17.6 kg/ha and over a 1-year period 55.9 kg/ha of litter was buried in such excavations. There was a higher nitrogen content in litter in October, 17.6 +- 0.5 ug/g than the rest of the year, 1.5 +- 1.4 ug/g. Litter bag studies of decomposition of small quantities of buried litter similar to that accumulated in rodent excavations exhibited higher rates of decomposition than larger quantities of buried litter reported in the literature. Rodent excavating activity increases rates of decomposition and organic matter turnover and may effect the distribution of ephemeral plants in warm desert ecosystems.