The influence of sward species composition on the rate of organic matter decomposition in grassland soil

D. W. HOPKINS*, R. S. SHIEL, A. G. O'DONNELL

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

To examine the influence of different plant materials on the rate of organic matter (OM) decomposition in soil, respiration and N mineralization/immobilization were measured during incubation of a test soil to which the plant materials were added. Amendments consisted of sward material either from grassland plots with different amounts of OM accumulation, or material from plants associated with soils having markedly different OM contents. Evolution of CO2 from the test soil plus herbage from an experimental plot showing OM accumulation was greater than that from the same soil amended with herbage from plots without accumulation. Apparently, grass species had no significant effect on OM turnover; differences in accumulation in grassland soils must be related to other environmental factors. Decomposition of young Calluna vulgaris was, however, slower than that of young grass material and in this case species could affect organic matter accumulation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)385-392
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Soil Science
Volume39
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPrint publication - Sep 1988
Externally publishedYes

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