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Forest Leaf Litter Nutrient Dynamics:
Seasonal Effects

Researcher: Thomas E Marler


Considering the influence of rainfall on litter decomposition and the distinct rainy versus dry seasons of the Mariana Islands, we conducted paired experiments to determine litter decomposition during the first 8 months of deployment. The first experiment was initiated at the beginning of the rainy season, and the second experiment was initiated at the beginning of the dry season. The two Guam sites were included and we used all 11 tree species for this study.



Litter decomposition during the initial 4 months was more rapid during the rainy season as predicted. However, the season in which leaf litter fall occurs will influence initial speed of litter decomposition, which is under the control of rainfall abundance. However, this divergence of decomposition speed as influenced by season disappears during the 4 to 8 month period when rainfall is limited for the litter that began decomposing in the rainy season but rainfall is abundant for litter that began decomposing in the dry season. 


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