Decomposition in the Pine Forests of Niepołomice
Litter is one of the most important factors in nutrient flow through forest ecosystems. It comprises a large pool of elements derived from decomposed organic matter and transported to deeper soil layers where they may be reassimi-lated by plants. This pool may include more than 60% of the total nutrients in an ecosystem (Weaver 1975). Decomposition of dead organic matter and activation of nutrients are the most important functions of forest litter and in this way have an influence on all living conditions in the ecosystem. Inhibition of these processes may result in a deficiency of mineral nutrients indispensable for auto-trophic life, whereas excessive acceleration may cause the disappearance of a large pool of mineral elements, thus disturbing the balance of the ecosystem. Disturbance of the decomposition rate of forest litter may also strongly affect water and air relations in specific soil layers.
KeywordsOrganic Matter Forest Ecosystem Turnover Rate Total Input Herb Layer
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