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Översiktsartikel - Refereegranskat, 1997

Dynamics of leaf litter accumulation and its effects on riparian vegetation: A review

Xiong Shaojun, Nilsson Christer


The total production of plant litter and the proportion of leaf litter are higher in riparian corridors than in upland ecosystems throughout the world, Periodical water-level fluctuation is believed to be the major cause of these differences, During flood periods, much plant litter is redistributed locally and between regions, following erosion, transport, and deposition of litter. The importance of litter redistribution varies with factors such as flood regime, topography, and vegetation. Litter from the riparian corridor is usually a major constituent of the litter transported by the river. The decomposition of litter is faster in riparian corridors than in upland systems due to a higher rate of leaching and a higher decomposer activity. Relative warmth and soil fertility may also enhance litter decomposition in riparian corridors. In general, accumulated litter affects plants physically by burying them, chemically by adding nutrients and phytotoxins, and biologically by adding diaspores. The physical impact of a certain amount of litter may be weaker in riparian corridors than in uplands because the rapid decomposition reduces the time that litter is present. In other words, higher amounts of litter are needed to affect riparian vegetation than are needed to affect other types of vegetation. The nutrient content of riverborne litter is reduced by leaching, but dissolved nutrients from litter might still reach the riparian vegetation, e.g., by adsorbing to inorganic particles. Phytotoxins are probably unimportant in riparian systems. The input to the riparian corridor of plant diaspores, borne by litter packs in the river, may be large. Indirect biological effects of litter, including its diaspores, are the attracting of animals and microbes that may influence the plant community, and the creation of bare soil for plant colonization


riparian corridors leaf litter erosion, transport, and deposition decomposer activity

Publicerad i

Botanical Review
1997, Volym: 63, nummer: 3, sidor: 240-264

    UKÄ forskningsämne

    Fish and Aquacultural Science
    Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use

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