Organic Chemical Characterization of Decomposing Plant Litter: A Comparison of Methods

Jari Liski, Anna Repo, Mikko Tuomi, Pekka Vanhala

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


There are two common methods to characterize organic chemical composition of decomposing plant litter, a forest products method and a forage fiber method. These methods divide litter into a few fractions based on extractions using different solvents. In this study, equivalencies were established between the fractions of the methods. Some of the equivalencies were based on similarities in the fractionation methods, whereas some were estimated empirically. The equivalencies gave similar chemical composition for different litter types as measurements. The results were also comparable to, or for certain fractions even better than, those obtained using earlier conversion equations. The equivalencies established are suitable for converting the forage fiber fractions to the forest products fractions in litter decomposition studies. Thus, they increase possibilities to exchange data on litter chemical characteristics across the methods in decomposition studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3310-3316
Number of pages7
JournalCommunications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis
Issue number22
Early online date23 Sept 2013
Publication statusPublished - 16 Dec 2013


  • Carbon
  • chemical composition
  • organic fractions


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