Title:

Rainfall regulates decomposition of buried cellulose in the Namib Desert

Publication Year:
1998
Abstract:

Because of the aridity of the Namib Sand Sea, it has long been assumed that decomposition of buried plant material was largely independent of rainfall. Losses were attributed to consumption by detritivores that forage year-round. Moisture-limited micro-organisms were reported to occur in low densities in Namib sands, supporting the assumption that rainfall was insignificant in regulating decomposition. Observations of abundant macrofungal fruiting from buried plant material and herbivore dung, following a 12 mm rain, suggested the importance of rain-induced decomposition had been underestimated. We used cellulose substrates to compare material loss during dry periods and following differing amounts of rain. Keywords: decomposition, cellulose, rainfall, soil moisture, Namib Desert.

Publication Title:

Journal of Arid Environments

Volume:
38
Issue:
4
Pages:
571-583
Item Type:
Journal Article
Language:
en

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