Table of Contents
ISRN Soil Science
Volume 2012, Article ID 346850, 8 pages
Research Article

Leaf Litter Decomposition and Nutrient Dynamics in Woodland and Wetland Conditions along a Forest to Wetland Hillslope

School of Environmental Science, Murdoch University, Murdoch, WA 6150, Australia

Received 15 May 2012; Accepted 4 June 2012

Academic Editors: P. Falloon, g. Grundmann, D. Jacques, and D. Lin

Copyright © 2012 Song Qiu et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Leaf litters of jarrah (Eucalyptus marginata Donn ex Sm.) and banksia (Banksia menziesii R. Br.) were decomposed at woodland and wetland conditions for two years to test site influence on the rates of decomposition. Weight loss was rapid in early rains but slowed substantially in the following months, resulting in 2/3 to 1/2 weights remaining after two years of field exposure. Litter weight loss was well described by a two-substrate quality decay model (𝑅2=0.97βˆ’0.99), and the half-lives were 2.6–3.2 weeks (labile fraction) and 6.4–6.9 years (recalcitrant fraction) for jarrah, and 1.0–1.7 weeks (labile) and 6.6–9.9 years (recalcitrant) for banksia. The nutrient mobility was Kβ‰ˆMgβ‰ˆS>Ca>P, and the losses of K, Mg and S were correlated with the weight loss of litter (𝑅2=0.77βˆ’0.94, 𝑃<0.03). P mass increased by 129% in jarrah litter and 174% in banksia litter in the woodland site, suggesting woodland with tree cover provided a better habitat for microbial biomass than non-inundated wetland, hence a notable P conservation in the decomposing litter.