Litter Decomposition: a Guide to Carbon and Nutrient Turnover

Litter Decomposition: a Guide to Carbon and Nutrient Turnover

1st Edition - November 8, 2005

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  • Editors: Bjørn Berg, Ryszard Laskowski
  • Hardcover ISBN: 9780120139385
  • Paperback ISBN: 9780123736178

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Litter Decomposition describes one of the most important processes in the biosphere – the decay of organic matter. It focuses on the decomposition process of foliar litter in the terrestrial systems of boreal and temperate forests due to the greater amount of data from those biomes. The availability of several long-term studies from these forest types allows a more in-depth approach to the later stages of decomposition and humus formation. Differences between the decay of woody matter and foliar litter is discussed in detail and a different pattern for decomposition is introduced. While teachers and students in more general subjects will find the most basic information on decomposition processes in this book, scientists and graduate students working on decomposition processes will be entirely satisfied with the more detailed information and the overview of the latest publications on the topic as well as the methodological chapter where practical information on methods useful in decomposition studies can be found. Abundant data sets will serve as an excellent aid in teaching process and will be also of interest to researchers specializing in this field as no thorough database exists at the moment.

Key Features

  • Provides over 60 tables and 90 figures
  • Offers a conceptual 3-step model describing the different steps of the decomposition process, demonstrating changes in the organic-chemical structure and nutrient contents
  • Includes a synthesis of the current state of knowledge on foliar litter decomposition in natural systems
  • Integrates more traditional knowledge on organic matter decomposition with current problems of environmental pollution, global change, etc.
  • Details contemporary knowledge on organic matter decomposition


Students and lecturers in ecology and environmental sciences, researchers in different fields of ecosystem ecology and ecotoxicology, foresters, and nature conservationists

Table of Contents

  • 1. Introduction
    2. Litter fall
    3. Decomposers: soil microorganisms and animals
    4. Changes in substrate composition and rate-regulating factors during decomposition
    5. Nitrogen dynamics in decomposing litter
    6. Origin and structure of secondary organic matter and sequestration of C
    7. Climatic and geographic patterns in decomposition
    8. Anthropogenic impacts on litter decomposition and soil organic matter
    9. Methods in studies of organic matter decay

Product details

  • No. of pages: 448
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Academic Press 2005
  • Published: November 8, 2005
  • Imprint: Academic Press
  • Hardcover ISBN: 9780120139385
  • Paperback ISBN: 9780123736178

About the Serial Volume Editors

Bjørn Berg

Affiliations and Expertise

University of Bayreuth, Dept of Soil Ecology, Germany

Ryszard Laskowski

Affiliations and Expertise

Jagiellonian University, Kraków, Poland

About the Serial Editor

Luo Yiqi

Affiliations and Expertise

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, Massachusetts, U.S.A. University of Oklahoma, Norman, U.S.A.

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