Decomposition of Phragmites australis in Relation to Depth of Flooding

  • Jan VymazalEmail author
  • Tereza Dvořáková Březinová


Decomposition of Phragmites australis in relation to water depth was studied in the littoral reed stands of two fishponds near Prague during 2014. In both fishponds, three sites were selected along the water depth gradient – deep and shallow water in the littoral zone and above the water. The sites above the water were located in the area which never got inundated. P. australis aboveground biomass was collected at all sites in both fishponds in October 2013 and the collected biomass was divided into leaves, lower stems and upper stems (stem was divided in two parts of equal length). The litter bags with mesh size of 1 mm were filled with about 3 g of each plant part and exposed at all locations in six replications in December 2013. The litterbags were taken out in regular 3-month intervals, the biomass was divided into particular plant parts, carefully cleaned from the sediment, dried at 60 °C to a constant weight and weighed. It has been found that stems and leaves of Phragmites australis decompose at various rates in the order of leaves > upper stems > lower stems. The difference in decomposition rates for upper and lower stems and leaves was significant. Average time necessary for 50 % dry mass loss was 708 days for lower stems, 411 days for upper stems and 233 days for leaves. The decomposition of P. australis proceeded slower above the water than in the littoral zone under submerged conditions. There was no significant difference between decomposition rates in deep and shallow water. The decomposition rate above the water was slower by 20 %, 39 % and 45 % for lower stems, upper stems and leaves, respectively.


Decomposition Macrophytes Phragmites australis Fishponds 



The study was supported by grant No. LH13004 Effect of Flooding on Sequestration of Carbon and Nutrients in Wetland Soils from the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport of the Czech Republic.


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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Environmental Sciences, Department of Applied EcologyCzech University of Life Sciences in PraguePrahaCzech Republic

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