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The processes of litter production and decomposition were studied in pine and mixed pine forests (10 sites) distributed along the N-S transect in Europe. The transect stretched from 70°N in Northern Finland and Norway to 50°N in Southern Poland. Mean annual temperatures change regularly along the transect from -1.9 to +7.4°C, while precipitation does not show any distinct pattern. Annual production and decomposition of litter are stimulated by wanning. The primary factors governing the rates of both processes are related to thermic regime, most frequently to the long-term temperatures registered in the meteorological stations in the vicinity of sites. Correlation between decomposition rate and temperature (R2) range from 0.75 to 0.93, between decomposition rate and latitude from 0.72 to 0.80, and between decomposition rate and precipitation from 0.52 to 0.63 (in the last case only correlations with long-term precipitation are significant). Correlation coefficients R2 between litterfall and temperature range from 0.53 to 0.80, between litterfall-latitude from 0.72 to 0.80, and between litterfall-precipitation from 0.52 to 0.63 (significant only for long-term precipitation). With increasing temperature decomposition rates increase from about 0.09 g.g-1.y-1 (needles 0.13 g.g-1.y-1, wood 0.06 g.g-1.y-1) in the North to about 0.32 g.g-1.y-1 (needles 0.41 g.g-1.y-1, wood 0.18 g.g-1.y-1) in the South. Litterfall increases from 103.19 g.m-2.y-1 (in this needles 56.73 g.m-2.y-1, wood 45.59 g.m-2.y-1) in the North, to about419.36 g.m-2.y-l (needles 203.95 g.m-2.y-l, wood 203.56 g.m-2.y-1) in the South. OM annual accumulation increases southward, ranging from about 100 (North) to about 370 (South) grams per m2. Accumulation is strongly connected with air temperatures on the sites (correlation coefficients (R2) at around 0.9).
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Projects co-financed by:
Operational Program Digital Poland, 2014-2020, Measure 2.3: Digital accessibility and usefulness of public sector information; funds from the European Regional Development Fund and national co-financing from the state budget.