Skip to page content
USDA Forest Service

Research & Development Treesearch

Treesearch Home
About Treesearch
Contact Us
Research & Development
Forest Products Lab
International Institute of Tropical Forestry
Pacific Northwest
Pacific Southwest
Rocky Mountain
Southern Research Station
Help - We Participate  Government Made Easy

Global Forest Information Service

US Forest Service
P.O. Box 96090
Washington, D.C.

(202) 205-8333

You are here: Home / Search / Publication Information
Bookmark and Share

Publication Information

View PDF (1.06 MB bytes)

Title: Long-term changes in forest floor processes in southern Appalachian forests

Author: Knoepp, Jennifer D.; Reynolds, Barbara C.; Crossley, D.A.; Swank, Wayne T.;

Date: 2005

Source: Forest Ecology and Management, Vol. 22: 300-312

Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication

Description: Soil nutrient concentrations decreased in an aggrading southern Appalachian forest over a 20-year period. Construction of nutrient budgets showed significant nutrient sequestration aboveground including increased forest floor mass. We hypothesized that the changes in forest floor mass resulted from decreased litter decomposition rates because of decreased litter quality. In 1992 and 1993, we repeated a litter decomposition experiment conducted in 1969 and 1970 to test this hypothesis. In addition, we examined microarthropod populations and functional groups as litter decomposed. For four of the five species tested, first year decomposition rates were about the same in both experiments. Initial litter nutrient concentrations of P were lower in all tree species in the most recent sampling. N, Ca, and Mg concentrations also declined in some species. These declines often resulted in decreased nutrient release rates during decomposition. Microarthropod populations differed significantly among litter species, as well as between years (probably resulting from differences in growing-season rainfall). For some litter species we found significant relationships between microarthropod populations and nutrient concentration (primarily C and N); however, most r2- values were low. Data suggest that changes in forest floor mass probably resulted from decreased litter quality and that those changes may have an effect on microarthropod populations.

Keywords: Long-term changes, litter decomposition, decay rates, nutrient release, microarthropods

Publication Notes:

  • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
  • You may send email to to request a hard copy of this publication. (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)



Knoepp, Jennifer D.; Reynolds, Barbara C.; Crossley, D.A.; Swank, Wayne T. 2005. Long-term changes in forest floor processes in southern Appalachian forests. Forest Ecology and Management, Vol. 22: 300-312


 [ Get Acrobat ]  Get the latest version of the Adobe Acrobat reader or Acrobat Reader for Windows with Search and Accessibility

USDA logo which links to the department's national site. Forest Service logo which links to the agency's national site.