Litter decomposition following forest fire in northeastern Minnesota.

Published online
01 Jan 1977
Content type
Journal article
Journal title
Journal of Applied Ecology

Grigal, D. F. & McColl, J. G.

Publication language
USA & Minnesota


Litter bags, containing aspen or aster leaf litter, were used to compare decomposition in burned and adjacent unburned areas in forests in northeastern Minnesota. Bags were placed in the field in October 1971, 5 months after the fire, and again in October 1972 and October 1973. Bags were collected periodically until October 1974. There was no significant difference in the weight loss of litter bags between burned and unburned areas for bags placed on the same date. Differences in nutrient concentration of the litter were only statistically significant for bags placed in October 1971, but these differences were small. The order of net mobility from the decomposing leaves was K>Mg>Ca>P>N. Aster decomposed four times faster than did aspen, with a rate of 1.6% of original weight per week, compared to 0.4% per week for aspen.

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