Mass loss and concentrations of nutrients in relation to microarthropod abundance, during needle decomposition in a pine plantation
Mass loss and concentrations of N, P, Ca and Mg of needle litter in relation to microarthropod population abundance during decomposition were investigated by the litter-bag method in a pine (Pinus kesiya Royle) plantation in north-eastern India. Collembola and Acarina together constituted 97·5% of the total microarthropods. Nitrogen slowly increased in its concentration in litter as decomposition progressed. Concentrations of Ca and Mg increased while that of K decreased in the litter. The microarthropods showed significant positive correlation with mass loss of the litter, but did not show any relationship with the N and Ca concentrations. Acarina abundance showed significant positive correlation with Mg concentrations of litter. The microarthropods other than Collembola and Acarina, however, showed significant negative correlation with K concentration of litter although they were recorded in meagre numbers.