Main Article Content
The objective of this work was to study the effects of forest degradation on the supply and contents of nutrients in the litter of two toposequences. The study area is located in a fragment of the Atlantic Forest, in Silva Jardim, State of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (42°31'W and 22°31'S). The two toposequences are under low and high degrees of human intervention. They were divided in lower, middle and upper slope, and the vegetation sampled with plots of 600m2. The litter was collected for quantitative and qualitative characterisation using a wood frame of 0,25m2 randomly distributed within the sample plots. Litter collection was carried out in two distinct dates in order to capture seasonal patterns. The average litter production did not differ significantly between the toposequences. The total litter production was higher at the end of the dry season, and lower at the end of the rainy season, indicating the seasonal pattern of the forest. The chemical analyses showed that the nutrients contents varied widely between the toposequences. The lower and middle slope of the toposequence under high degree of human intervention presented the highest nutrient contents in the litter.