Accumulation and biota in a pioneer ecosystem of Kudzu vine at Copperhill, Tennessee.

Published online
28 Aug 1967
Content type
Journal article
Journal title
Journal of Applied Ecology

Witkamp, M. & Frank, M. L. & Shoopman, J. L.

Publication language
USA & Tennessee


Masses of vegetation, litter and humus and their C and N contents, population densities of bacteria, fungi and arthropods, and respiration rates, moisture contents and pH of litter and soil were measured at four sites at different stages of development in a pioneer vegetation of kudzu (Pueraria lobata) on denuded soil. Kudzu planted on a cultivated strip in 1955, had produced 550 g/m2 dry matter on the strip and by August 1960 had spread 30 m from the strip. In August 1962 and 1964 further growth was being checked presumably by immobilization of up to 80% of the cycling P and N in litter and humus which accumulated the equivalent of 80-110% of a standing crop per year. Microbial densities and respiration increased at a higher rate than their litter and humus substrate, suggesting that their environment improved and that microbial immobilization of P and N was largely responsible for the fall in rate of expansion of kudzu. Kudzu appeared to be useful in the initial stages of revegetation, but its mineral cycles may need renewal by cultural means.

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