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Title: Controls on mass loss and nitrogen dynamics of oak leaf litter along an urban-rural land-use gradient
Author: Pouyat, Richard V.; Carreiro, Margaret M.
Publication: Oecologia. 135: 288-298.
Key Words: decomposition, earthworms, forests, litterbags, litter quality
Abstract: Using reciprocal leaf litter transplants, we investigated the effects of contrasting environments (urban vs. rural) and intraspecific variations in oak leaf litter quality on mass loss rates and nitrogen (N) dynamics along an urban-rural gradient in the New York City metropolitan area. Differences in earthworm abundances and temperature had previously been documented in the stands along this gradient. Red oak leaf litter was collected and returned to its original source stand as native litter to measure decay rates along the gradient. To separate site effects from litter quality effects on decay, reciprocal transplants of litter were also made between stands at the extremes of the environmental gradient (urban and rural stands).
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