The effect of land-use changes on litter quality and litter palatability

Julia Seeber, Brigitte Knapp, Alexander Rief

 

We investigated the effect of land-use changes on litter quality and palatability for decomposer species in alpine pastureland. After the abandonment of management the composition of the plant communities changes remarkably, perennial grasses and dwarf shrubs prevail. Thus, litter quality changes.

To determine how these changes affect decomposer species and their food sources we analysed chemical and microbiological parameters of the litter of different alpine plant species abundant on either managed or abandoned areas. We conducted cafeteria experiments to test whether these parameters shed light on the palatability of the different litters to earthworms, which represent an important decomposer group in soils.

 

Funding: Research unit Mountain Agriculture of the University of Innsbruck

 Litter quality

 

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