PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2012, Vol. 31 ›› Issue (5): 655-663.doi: 10.11820/dlkxjz.2012.05.015

• Original Articles • Previous Articles    

Influencing Factors of Grassland Litter Decomposition and Nutrient Release and Accumulation

GENG Yuanbo1, SHI Jingjing1,2   

  1. 1. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China;
    2. Graduate University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • Received:2011-10-01 Revised:2012-02-01 Online:2012-05-25 Published:2012-05-25

Abstract: Litter decomposition is a main linkage of material cycle in grassland ecosystem. In the meantime, nutrient elements release and accumulation play an important role in the process of degraded grassland recovery. Inthis paper, we briefly reviewed the research progress of litter decomposition and the biogeochemical behaviour of nutrient elements in grassland at home and broad from two aspects: the main factors which affect litter decomposition rate, including the properties of litter, external environment (biological and non-biological factors) andmixture effects; the release and accumulation of plant nutrient elements when litter decomposes. Grassland litterde composition rates, in common circumstances, are positively correlated with initial litter N, P and K, while negatively correlated with C/N, C/P, lignin and cellulose, and insignificantly correlated with the nutrients ambient.The effects of non-additive effects are dependent on N and P contents as well as litter diversities. In the process of litter decomposition, an overall trend shows that litter accumulates N while it releases K and P at the primarystage of decomposition whereas it shows no obvious regularity on the immobilization of Na, Ca and Mg for differentparts or types of species. Different contents of each nutrient, different stages of decomposition, differenttypes of species, non-additive and soil environment are the main factors that affect the nutrients release and accumulation.It can be concluded that the exploration of the interaction of factors, the mechanism in mixture decomposition,the release and accumulation of some major and trace nutrient elements will be research hotspots in thefuture.

Key words: biogeochemistry, grassland, litter decomposition, nutrient element