Litter Contribution and Decomposition in the Caatinga in Southern Piauí State, Brazil

Studies on nutrient cycling in the Caatinga biome can support a better understanding of the ecological processes in that ecosystem. This study aimed to improve information related to the amount of organic material for litter formation, its chemical composition and required time for decomposition in a study area located in the Caatinga biome, municipality of Santa Luz, Piaui state, Brazil. The litterfall production was monthly collected between December 2010 and November 2011 using 10 collectors. The collected material was partially used as samples for soil analysis (N, K, P, lignin and tannin). The decomposition was assessed using litter bags. Our results indicate that litter deposition increases as precipitation decreases, mainly the leaf fraction. The greatest soil nutrient content was Nitrogen. It seems that the high concentrations of lignin and tannin in the Caatinga litter were responsible for decreasing the decomposition rate of the leaf litter.