RE: NANFA-L-- Riparian Vegetation was "Creek Chubs?"

Subject: RE: NANFA-L-- Riparian Vegetation was "Creek Chubs?"
From: Denkhaus, Robert (
Date: Wed Dec 01 2004 - 10:22:23 CST

Pull out an old dog-eared copy of Odum's Ecology for a good explanation and examples of this phenomenon. I use one of his examples in some of the training classes that I give so I will relate it here...

In well-drained silt loam soil comparing the organic matter in a forest vs a prairie:

Standing crop (the above ground living stuff) forest = 90 tons, prairie = 3 tons
Litter (on the soil surface) forest = 3 tons (in February), 1.5 tons (in October), prairie = 5 tons and 2 tons (Feb & Oct)
Below surface (measured in six inch increments but totalled here) forest = 77 tons, prairie = 147 tons

Totals organic materials forest = 170 tons (Feb), 168.5 tons (Oct), Prairie = 155 tons (Feb), 152 tons (Oct)

As you can see, the totals are not all that different but the bulk of a prairie's organic material is below the surface locked up in roots. The bulk of a forest's organic materials are above the surface locked up in living trees. The nutrients that are easily available to enter surface waters come from the litter which is relatively equal.

Rob Denkhaus
Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Nick Zarlinga
> Sent: Wednesday, December 01, 2004 7:56 AM
> To:
> Subject: RE: NANFA-L-- Riparian Vegetation was "Creek Chubs?"
> In grassy habitats, you have fields of decaying material vs
> woody plant
> habitats, more of the nutrients are locked up in living
> tissues. No? How
> much of a woody plants biomass is locked up in woody tissue
> vs deciduous
> tissues? I guess that it would be different for each species
> of course, but
> I guess that's my question. It seems to me that
> forest/scrubby areas would
> retain more nutrients in living woody tissue year round and
> grassy/prarie
> habitats would have a larger influx of nutrients to the water due to a
> larger percentage of decaying material.
> Nick Zarlinga
> Aquarium Biologist
> Cleveland Metroparks Zoo
> 216.661.6500 ext 4485
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: Sat Jan 01 2005 - 12:41:44 CST