Skip to Main Content
U.S. Forest Service
Caring for the land and serving people

United States Department of Agriculture

Home > Search > Publication Information

  1. Share via EmailShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Twitter
    Dislike this pubLike this pub
    Author(s): Steven W. Solada; Sue A. Perry; William B. Perry
    Date: 1996
    Source: In: Hom, John; Birdsey, Richard; O'Brian, Kelly, eds. Proceedings 1995 meeting of the northern global change program; Gen. Tech. Rep. NE-214. Radnor, PA: U. S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northeastern Forest Experiment Station: 161-164.
    Publication Series: General Technical Report (GTR)
    Station: Northeastern Research Station
    PDF: View PDF  (249.06 KB)

    Description

    The decomposition of leaf litter provides the primary nutrient source for many of the headwater mountain streams in forested catchments. An investigation of factors affected by global change that influence organic matter decomposition, such as temperature and pH, is important in understanding the dynamics of these systems. We conducted a study of leaf litter elemental change during decomposition in three headwater mountain streams within or near the Fernow Experimental Forest, Monongahela National Forest, West Virginia. Three leaf species, placed in individual leaf bags, were placed in three streams that had mean pH values of 4.2, 6.2, and 7.5. Nitrogen, expressed as percent of initial concentration, was conserved in leaf litter in all three streams. Nitrogen concentrations were not significantly different in the acidic stream as compared with the more neutral streams. In contrast, phosphorus was lost more rapidly from the leaf detritus in the acidic stream (45.9 percent), than in the more neutral streams (52.0 percent and 63.1 percent). The rates of decomposition for white oak and red maple were significantly lower (k = 0.0062 for red maple) in the acidic stream as compared with the more neutral streams, WSH and HSH (k = 0.0128 and 0.0072, respectively). Although no differences in final nitrogen content were observed, detrital decomposition, microbial biomass, and the accumulation of phosphorus, calcium, and magnesium were inhibited in the low pH stream. These results suggest that acidification may significantly reduce the rate of leaf detrital breakdown, which may result in a reduction of the nutrient base for aquatic consumers.

    Publication Notes

    • Check the Northern Research Station web site to request a printed copy of this publication.
    • Our on-line publications are scanned and captured using Adobe Acrobat.
    • During the capture process some typographical errors may occur.
    • Please contact Sharon Hobrla, shobrla@fs.fed.us if you notice any errors which make this publication unusable.
    • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.

    Citation

    Solada, Steven W.; Perry, Sue A.; Perry, William B. 1996. Leaf litter decomposition and elemental change in three Appalachian mountain streams of different pH. In: Hom, John; Birdsey, Richard; O''Brian, Kelly, eds. Proceedings 1995 meeting of the northern global change program; Gen. Tech. Rep. NE-214. Radnor, PA: U. S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northeastern Forest Experiment Station: 161-164.

    Related Search


    XML: View XML
Show More
Show Fewer
Jump to Top of Page
https://www.fs.usda.gov/treesearch/pubs/13421