Dry weight loss in leaves of dominant species in a successional sequence of the Mesopotamian Espinal (Argentina)

Carlos A. Mendoza, Juan F. Gallardo, Maria B. Turrión, Valentín Pando, Pablo G. Aceñolaza

Abstract


Aim of study: compare litter decomposition dynamics among different species within a single forest type and also between a single species in different forest successional stages.

Area of study: different forests of a known successional sequence of the Mesopotamian Espinal, placed in Villaguay Department, Entre Ríos Province, Argentina.

Material and methods: A standard “litter bags” technique was employed. Chemical analyses of C and N were performed for leaves. A regression analysis was applied and data were fitted to a double exponential model. Means estimated among forests and species within each forest were compared using the Tukey-Kramer test.

Main results: The model predicted that leaves would completely mineralize in the mid-term. Leaf decomposition rate in different species (both in the Secondary forest and Mature forest) had dry matter residues in the following decreasing order: Acacia caven > Prosopis nigra > Prosopis affinis > Celtis ehrenbergiana.

Research highlights: Successional stage was not found to be a factor determining the decomposition rate among species. Different decomposition rates, observed among different species, would not be attributed to initial quality of residues in terms of C and N, but would be associated with a positive feedback process related to nutrient cycle; thus, a greater decomposition would increase nutrient availability and, consequently, litterfall input.

Keywords


organic matter; decomposition; litter; dry forest; modeling; plant succession

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DOI: 10.5424/fs/2017263-11561

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