Decomposition of wild jack (Artocarpus hirsutus Lamk.) leaf litter under subcanopy and open conditions

Sheeba Rebecca Isaac, M. Achuthan Nair


A comparative study on in situ and ex situ decomposition dynamics of wild jack (Artocarpus hirsutus Lamk.) leaf litter was conducted in a homegarden of Southern Kerala, India. Results of the litter bag study indicate that under the canopy 95% of the litter mass disappeared in about 17 fortnights, whereas in the open it took approximately 19 fortnights. Weight loss followed a negative exponential model and the half-lives were 9.45 and 10.31 fortnights respectively for in situ and ex situ decomposition. Earthworm and microbial counts were also substantially greater in the subcanopy than in the open, implying a favourable effect of the subcanopy conditions. Nutrient dynamics exhibited temporary phases of immobilization for both N and P, while K release was continuous.


decay rate; homegardens; immobilization; nutrient release

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A KAU publication [CODEN: JTAGEI; ISSN 0971-636X; eISSN 0973-5399]