Main Article Content
In order to evaluate the decomposition of litter and microbial activity in an area of preserved Caatinga, an experiment was conducted in the Natural Heritage Private Reserve Tamanduá Farm in Santa Terezinha county, State of Paraiba. The decomposition rate was determined by using litter bags containing 30 g of litter, which were arranged on the soil surface in September 2003 and 20 bags were taken each month until September 2005. The collected material was oven dried and weighed to assess weight loss compared to initial weight. Microbial activity was estimated monthly by the quantification of carbon dioxide (CO2) released into the edaphic breathing process from the soil surface, and captured by KOH solution. Weight loss of litter after one year was 41.19% and, after two years, was 48.37%, indicating a faster decomposition in the first year. Data analysis showed the influence of season on litter decomposition and temperature on microbial activity.