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): L. Heneghan; D.C. Coleman; X. Zou; D.A. Crossley; B.L. Hines
    Date: 1998
    Source: Applied Soil Ecology 9 (1998) 33-38
    Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication
    PDF: View PDF  (204 KB)


    The influence of climate, substrate quality and microarthropods on decomposition was studied by comparing the mass loss of litter at three forested sites: two tropical and one temperate. At each site,litter bags containing a dominant local litter were placed in the field in replicated plots. Half the bags were treated with naphthalene to reduce microarthropod abundance. The pattern of mass loss was markedly seasonal at the temperate site. The amount of mass remaining after 250 days was strongly related to the initial %N of the three litter types (r2=0.997). The faunated litter-bags lost more mass at all sites and for all litters studied than the litterbags with reduced microarthropod populations. The effect was minimal at the temperate. site where the fauna tended to increase the decomposition rate only towards the end of the year. In contrast, the effect of the fauna at the tropical sites was marked within months of the start of the experiment. Species richness of microarthropods in samples of 300 cm2 of leaf litter was simihr at the three sites. However, diversity (measured using Fisher's Q index) was greatest at the tropical sites.

    Publication Notes

    • You may send email to to request a hard copy of this publication.
    • (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)
    • 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.


    Heneghan, L.; Coleman, D.C.; Zou, X.; Crossley, D.A., Jr.; Hines, B.L. 1998. Soil Microarthropod Community Structure and Litter Decomposition Dynamics: A Study of Tropical and Temperate Sites. Applied Soil Ecology 9 (1998) 33-38


    tropical-temperate comparison, decomposition, litter quality, Microarthropods, litterbags, biological systems of regulation (BSR'S)

    Related Search

    XML: View XML
Show More
Show Fewer
Jump to Top of Page