Litter decomposition in the soil is one of the main processes in ecosystem functioning. Besides chemical environmental conditions and species composition of soil communities, litter quality of different species has a strong influence on this process. The aim of this study was to experimentally quantify the decomposition rates of leaf litter of a wide range of plant species from central-western Argentina. Fifty-two plant species were selected, covering a wide range of families and life forms. Ten litter samples of each species were buried simultaneously in an experimental decomposition bed during nine and 18 summer weeks. Decomposition rate was defined as the % of dry mass loss after nine or 18 weeks of burial. Decomposition rates in both treatments were highly correlated. Decomposition rate was similar among plant families, but differed among functional groups. Herbaceous dicots and deciduous woody plants decomposed faster than evergreen woody, bromelioid, succulent and aphyllous functional groups. Graminoids showed relatively slow decomposition rates, similar to those of woody evergreen species. These results contribute to the understanding of the role of dominant species on the functioning of native ecosystems.
|Translated title of the contribution||Experimental comparison of leaf decomposition rates of plant species from central-western argentina|
|Number of pages||8|
|Publication status||Published - 1997|