Initial litter chemical composition

  • Björn Berg
  • Charles McClaugherty


In forested ecosystems, litter fall is the largest source of organic material and nutrients for the humus layer. The quality and quantity of litter fall influences nature of the microbial community, including its size, composition, function and physiological properties. The composition of the microbial community may, in turn, influence the course of decomposition and the chemical changes in the litter during decomposition. With knowledge about the initial chemical composition of litter and the chemical changes during decomposition, it is possible to predict how mass-loss rates will change even in late decomposition stages. With a close connection between the chemical composition of newly shed litter and the relative amount of recalcitrant residual litter (Chap. 11), we see a direct connection between litter chemical composition and rate of humus (soil organic matter) buildup.


Fine Root Secondary Wall Litter Type European Beech Litter Fall 
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.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Björn Berg
    • 1
  • Charles McClaugherty
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Soil Ecology, BITOEKUniversity of BayreuthBayreuthGermany
  2. 2.Department of BiologyMount Union CollegeAllianceUSA

Personalised recommendations