Effects of flooding on leaf litter decomposition in microcosms
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- Day, F.P. Oecologia (1983) 56: 180. doi:10.1007/BF00379689
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The effects of hydroperiod on decomposition rates of senescent Acer rubrum leaves were tested in microcosms in a controlled laboratory environment. Microcosm treatments included continuously flooded, continuously unflooded, and fluctuating hydroperiods. All flooding treatments promoted decomposition but variations in hydroperiod had no significant effects. A leaching experiment indicated the higher decay rates under flooded conditions were primarily due to high leaching losses from soaking. Unlike nutrient dynamics in the field, where net accumulation occurs, nitrogen and phosphorus in the litter in the microcosms exhibited net losses. The major external inputs which provide a source of nitrogen and phosphorus for immobilization in the field were lacking in the microcosms. Calcium, magnesium, and potassium exhibited net losses except for calcium in the unflooded microcosms. The microcosm results demonstrated the importance of external inputs to litter nutrient relations.