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Background: Litter is an important component of ecosystems, and its characteristics (e.g., production, decomposition, and nutrient and carbon content) are relevant for the ecological maintenance of different ecosystems. Previous studies on decomposition patterns have focused only on short time periods. Furthermore, there is no information regarding the actual decomposition time of organic matter in the Brazilian savanna biome known as the Cerrado. Thus, analysis of the total decomposition time can provide reliable estimates for other models. This study aimed to evaluate total litter decomposition (100%) and its relationship with seasonality and floristic composition in the savanna forest (Cerradão) formation in central Brazil. Litter bags were randomly distributed over the soil, with 10 samples collected per quarter from August 2014 to May 2020. Single- and double-entry linear regression models were
used to analyze the total litter decomposition.
Results: The half-life (time for which 50% of the litter was decomposed) occurred at 360 days, and 100% of litter decomposition occurred at 2.070 days. The single-entry model was more satisfactory for estimating the decomposition speed. There was a positive correlation between litter decomposition and precipitation, and the floristic composition helped to explain the litter decomposition trends.
Conclusion: Litter decomposition in the Cerradão is related to floristic diversity (quality of the material) and to the synergism of factors that occur mainly in the rainy season. Thus, the results of this study can contribute to conservation initiatives.
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