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Addressing the dryland decomposition conundrum by integrating vegetation structure, soil transport, and UV photodegradation
 

Summary: Addressing the dryland decomposition conundrum by integrating vegetation
structure, soil transport, and UV photodegradation
Heather Throop1, Steve Archer2, Paul Barnes3, Michelle Abbene3, Dan Hewins1, Greg Okin4
1Biology Department, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM; throop@nmsu.edu
2School of Natural Resources, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ
3Department of Biological Sciences, Loyola University, New Orleans, LA
4Department of Geography, University of California, Los Angeles, CA
Introduction
Decomposition of organic matter strongly controls nutrient availability,
productivity, and community composition. Decay rates in mesic systems are
generally quite successfully predicted by models driven by climatic variables.
In contrast, the factors controlling decomposition of litter in dryland systems
remain poorly understood, with an unresolved disconnect between
measured and modeled decay rates. Recent research on decomposition in
drylands suggests that several key drivers of dryland decomposition have
been historically overlooked and not included in models. In particular, UV
photodegradation and soil transport processes, both a function of vegetation
structure, may strongly influence dryland decomposition dynamics. We
suggest an expanded framework for studying dryland decay that explicitly
addresses vegetation structure and its influence on decomposition. Spatial

  

Source: Archer, Steven R. - Savanna/Woodland Ecology Lab., School of Natural Resources and the Environment, University of Arizona

 

Collections: Environmental Sciences and Ecology