The contribution of rodents to decomposition processes in a desert ecosystem

TitleThe contribution of rodents to decomposition processes in a desert ecosystem
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1983
AuthorsSteinberger Y., Whitford WG
JournalJournal of Arid Environments
Volume6
Pagination177-181
Date Published1983
Accession NumberJRN00009
Call Number00322
Keywordsarticle, articles, journal, journals, litter decomposition,rodents, litter,nitrogen, nitrogen,litter, rodent,decomposition processes
Abstract

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.

URLfiles/bibliography/JRN00009.pdf
DOI10.1016/S0140-1963(18)31531-3