Litterfall from trees in semiarid woodlands of north-east Queensland

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Abstract

The amount and chemical composition (nitrogen, phosphorus and sulfur concentrations) of the components of tree litter were measured in eucalypt woodlands at two sites (Cardigan and Hillgrove) near Charters Towers, Queensland, Australia. Annual litterfall averaged 720 kg ha–1 (Cardigan) and 1270 kg ha–1 (Hillgrove) over 3 years with leaves the major component at both sites. Rate of litterfall was greatest during September–December and lowest during May–July. Nutrient concentrations varied widely but no seasonal patterns were detected. Phosphorus concentrations in the leaf litter at Hillgrove (mean = 0.112%) were much higher than in other studies of eucalypt litter, probably reflecting the high soil phosphorus levels at the study site. Tree litter represents an important proportion of the organic material and nutrients being cycled through these woodlands.

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