Initial nitrogen content and topographic moisture effects on the decomposition of pine needles

Tsutomu Enoki, Hideyuki Kawaguchi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The effects of litter quality and site characteristics on the decomposition process were investigated using a litterbag method. Pine needle litters with differing nitrogen concentrations (0.8, 0.6 and 0.4%) were placed on the upper and lower slopes of a Pinus thunbergii Parl. plantation. After both 3 and 6 months, the mass of decomposing litter with the lower nitrogen concentration was larger than the litter with higher nitrogen concentrations. After 9 months, there were no significant differences in the litter mass remaining, regardless of the initial nitrogen concentration. Moisture content in the litter was always higher on the lower slope, although the mass of litter was smaller. Nitrogen concentration of the decomposing litter increased linearly with accumulated mass loss. The increase in nitrogen concentration of decomposing litter was greater on the lower slope, but this increase did not differ between initial nitrogen concentrations. The nitrogen release from the decomposing litter with higher initial nitrogen concentration was larger than the release from litter bags with lower nitrogen concentrations. This result suggests that there may be positive feedback between soil nutrient availability, litter quality and nutrient release from decomposing litter at the intraspecific level.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)425-434
JournalEcological Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2000


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