|Title||Recovery of decomposition and soil microarthropod communities in an Appalachian watershed two decades after a clearcut.|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2004|
|Authors||Heneghan, L, Salmore, A, Crossley, DA|
|Journal||Forest Ecology and Management|
We examined decomposition rates of three substrates (Quercus prinus L., Acer rubrum L., and Cornus florida L.) in a watershed 21 years after it had been clearcut, and compared them to an adjacent control watershed. Previous investigations at these sites had shown that microarthropod populations, important components of the decomposer community, were considerably less dense in the clearcut watershed and that decomposition rates were reduced. Twenty-one years after clearcut decomposition rates in the clearcut watershed had reconverged with the control, and in the case of one substrate (C. florida) now exceeded the control. Microarthropods maintained denser populations in the clearcut watershed, and oribatid assemblages, the most abundant taxonomic group, were more diverse in that watershed. A contrast of the decomposition of the substrates 8 and 21 years after cable-logging revealed that decomposition was slower in the control watershed in the more recent observations, though this may reflect lower precipitation that year. These results seem to confirm that microarthropod recovery may be indicative of a restored decomposer community functioning, and that this may be reflective of reconverged abiotic conditions at the site.