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This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 42 No. 6, p. 972-976
    Received: Nov 7, 1977
    Accepted: July 25, 1978

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Effects of Nitrogen and Phosphorus Additions on Deciduous Litter Decomposition1

  1. J. M. Kelly and
  2. G. S. Henderson2



Urea and concentrated superphosphate were applied to plots in a deciduous forest to examine their effects on decomposition of white oak leaves (Quercus alba L.) in litter bags and the associated populations of decomposer organisms. Urea applications decreased soil invertebrate populations by about 30% and caused a three- to four-fold increase in bacterial populations while increasing decomposition rates by 1 and 3% at the 550 and 1,100 kg/ha N levels, respectively. Superphosphate additions caused bacterial populations to decrease by 30% at the highest addition rate and decreased decomposition by 4 and 6% at the 275 and 550 kg/ha P rates, respectively. Soil acidity changes following fertilizer additions appear to be primarily responsible for observed results although longer-term changes in decomposition may be associated with changes in the nutrient status of the forest floor.

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