Biology and Fertility of Soils

, Volume 23, Issue 2, pp 177–181 | Cite as

Dung decomposition and pedoturbation in a seasonally dry tropical pasture

  • J. E. Herrick
  • R. Lal
Original Paper


Rates of dung decomposition and the associated accumulation of soil transported to the surface were compared for dung deposited during a dry and a wet season in a Costa Rican pasture. Average decomposition rates for the first 140 days after deposition were significantly lower for dung patches deposited at the beginning of the dry season than for patches deposited at the beginning of the wet season (0.73 vs. 1.50 g/day-1 on a dry weight basis). A strong linear relationship was found between dung removal and soil accumulation at the original soil surface, with an average of 2.0 g soil accumulated for every gram of dung which was removed. This relationship was not affected by deposition season. The lack of a seasonal difference, along with the relatively low decomposition rates during the wet season, were explained by the dominance of termites in the dung patches throughout the year. Evidence of dung beetle activity was never recorded during the dry season and was found in only 18 of the 45 dung patches recovered during the wet season.

Key words

Decomposition Termites Cattle dung Pedoturbation Tropical pastures Soil restoration 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. E. Herrick
    • 1
  • R. Lal
    • 2
  1. 1.USDA-ARS Jornada Experimental RangeNMSU, Department 3JERLas CrucesUSA
  2. 2.School of Natural ResourcesThe Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA

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