Litter decomposition recycles nutrients and causes large ?uxes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. It is typically assumed that climate, litter quality and decomposer communities determine litter decay rates, yet few comparative studies have examined their relative contributions in tropical forests. 2. We used a short-term litterbag experiment to quantify the effects of litter quality, placement and mesofaunal exclusion on decomposition in 23 tropical forests in 14 countries. Annual precipitation varied among sites (7605797 mm). At each site, two standard substrates (Raphia farinifera and Laurus nobilis) were decomposed in ?ne- and coarse-mesh litterbags both above and below ground for approximately 1 year. © 2009 British Ecological Society.
Publication Source (Journal or Book title)
Journal of Ecology
Powers, J., Montgomery, R., Adair, E., Brearley, F., Dewalt, S., Castanho, C., Chave, J., Deinert, E., Ganzhorn, J., Gilbert, M., González-Iturbe, J., Bunyavejchewin, S., Grau, H., Harms, K., Hiremath, A., Iriarte-Vivar, S., Manzane, E., De Oliveira, A., Poorter, L., Ramanamanjato, J., Salk, C., Varela, A., Weiblen, G., & Lerdau, M. (2009). Decomposition in tropical forests: A pan-tropical study of the effects of litter type, litter placement and mesofaunal exclusion across a precipitation gradient. Journal of Ecology, 97 (4), 801-811. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2745.2009.01515.x