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Production and decomposition of forest litter fall on the Apalachicola River flood plain, Florida

Open-File Report 82-252

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Abstract

Measurements of litter fall (leaves and other particulate organic material) and leaf decomposition were made on the Apalachicola River flood plain in 1979-80. Litter fall was collected monthly in five different forest types in swamp and levee areas. Leaves from 42 species of trees and other plants accounted for 58 percent of total litter fall. The remaining 42 percent was nonleaf material. Average litter fall was 800 grams per square meter per year in the flood plain. Tupelo (Nyssa), baldcypress (Taxodium), and ash (Fraxinus), all swamp-adapted trees, produce over 50 percent of the leaf fall. Common levee species such as sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua) and diamond-leaf oak (Quercus laurifolia) are also major contributors to total flood-plain litter fall. Annual flooding of the river provides an important mechanism for mobilization of the litter-fall products. Leaf decomposition rates were greatly reduced in dry environments. Carbon loss was nearly linear over a 6-month period, but nitrogen and phosphorus loss was exponential and nearly complete within 1 month. (USGS)

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Production and decomposition of forest litter fall on the Apalachicola River flood plain, Florida
Series title:
Open-File Report
Series number:
82-252
Edition:
-
Year Published:
1982
Language:
ENGLISH
Publisher:
U.S. Geological Survey,
Description:
vii, 80 p. :ill., maps ;28 cm.