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Role in Ecosystem and Global Processes

  • Hans Lambers
  • F. Stuart ChapinIII
  • Thijs L. Pons

Abstract

Decomposition of plant litter involves the physical and chemical processes that reduce litter to CO2, water, and mineral nutrients. It is a key process in the nutrient cycle of most terrestrial ecosystems, and the amount of carbon returned to the atmosphere by decomposition of dead organic matter is an important component of the global carbon budget (Vitousek 1982, Vitousek et al. 1994) (Sect. 2.6 of the chapter on ecosystem and global processes). Sooner or later, most plant material is decomposed, although a small proportion of recalcitrant organic matter becomes stabilized for thousands of years as humus. Most root-released material (exudates and other root-derived organic matter) is incorporated in the soil microbial biomass or lost as CO2 within weeks, at least at a high nutrient supply.

Keywords

Normalize Difference Vegetation Index Decomposition Rate Litter Decomposition Specific Leaf Area Litter Quality 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hans Lambers
    • 1
    • 2
  • F. Stuart ChapinIII
    • 3
  • Thijs L. Pons
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Plant Ecology and Evolutionary BiologyUtrecht UniversityUtrechtThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Plant Sciences, Faculty of AgricultureUniversity of Western AustraliaNedlandsAustralia
  3. 3.Institute of Arctic BiologyUniversity of AlaskaFairbanksUSA

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