Role of litter decomposition for the increased primary production in areas heavily grazed by reindeer: a litterbag experiment
2002 (English)In: Oikos, ISSN 0030-1299, E-ISSN 1600-0706, Vol. 96, no 3, 507-515 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Heavy grazing and trampling by reindeer increase nutrient cycling and primary production in areas where grasslands hake replaced shrub and moss tundra. One way in which herbivores can affect nutrient cycling is through changing the litter decomposition processes. We studied the effect of herbivory on litter decomposition rate by reciprocal transplantation of litter between lightly grazed and heavily grazed areas. using the litterbag technique, We used litter from two of the most common species on the lightly grazed side, Betula nana and Empetrum nigrum, and two of the most common species on the heavily grazed side. Carex bigelowii and Deschampsia flexuosa, We found that herbivory improved litter quality by favouring species with easily decomposed litter. However. herbivore also improved litter quality by increasing the nitrogen content and lowering the C/N ratio of each species. Decomposition rates even correlated with the abundance of the plant category in question, Shrub litter decomposed faster in the lightly grazed area where shrubs were common, and graminoid litter decomposed faster in the heavily grazed area where graminoids were common. These results indicate that the decomposer micro-organisms are adapted to the most common litter types. This studs shoals that detailed information about the effect of herbivore on litter quality is important to understand differences between the short-term and long-term effects of herbivory on nutrient cycling and primary production.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Wiley , 2002. Vol. 96, no 3, 507-515 p.
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-39597DOI: 10.1034/j.1600-0706.2002.960312.xISI: 000175112200012OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-39597DiVA: diva2:394288