A critique of the analytical methods used in examining decomposition data obtained from litter bags.

The study of plant litter decomposition in terrestrial ecosystems commonly employs litter bags to compare the loss of mass among species, among sites, and under various experimental manipulations, or to investigate the process itself. Analysis of the resulting data is quite variable among investigators, and at times inappropriate. Two general analytical approaches to the examination of decomposition data are reviewed. Analysis of variance is useful if the intent is to compare treatment means, but does not directly test hypotheses regarding decomposition rates. If the intent is to determine rate constants, than fitting mathematical models to data is the more appropriate analysis. Single and double exponential models best describe the loss of mass over time with an element of biological realism.

Main Author: Wieder, R Kelman.
Other Authors: Lang, Gerald.
Language: English
Published: 1982
Online Access: http://ezproxy.villanova.edu/login?url=https://digital.library.villanova.edu/Item/vudl:179234