Skip to main content

Hakalau Forest NWR litter decomposition data


Publication Date
Start Date
End Date


Yelenik, S.G. and Rehm, E.M., 2020, Hakalau Forest NWR plant, soil, litter, and decomposition data 2015-2019: U.S. Geological Survey data release,


This data release includes data and metadata on litter decomposition rates for Acacia koa (koa) and Metrosideros polymorpha (‘ōhi‘a) leaves in in different microhabitats. All sites were within Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge on Hawaii Island. Broadly, this study looked at the ability to alter soil nitrogen cycling, exotic grass biomass and native outplant survival with large quantities of Metrosideros polymorpha litter in a forest dominated by Acacia koa.


Attached Files

Click on title to download individual files attached to this item.

Litter decomposition.csv 19.6 KB text/csv


Tree species can have large effects on soil nutrients in ways that alter succession, especially in the case of nitrogen (N) fixing trees, and it is not clear whether it is possible to reverse high soil N via management. In Hawaiʻi, forest restoration relies heavily on use of a native N-fixing tree, Acacia koa (koa), but this species increases soil available N and facilitates exotic pasture grasses. In contrast, Metrosideros polymorpha (‘ōhi‘a), the dominant native tree over most of the Hawaiian Islands, is rarely planted because it is slow growing yet it is associated with lower soil N and grass biomass, and greater native understory recruitment. We asked whether it is possible to reverse high soil N under koa by adding ‘ōhi‘a litter, and whether litter amendments could alter grass biomass and native understory survival. As a part of this, we quantified the rate at which koa and ohia leaves decompose and release nitrogen and carbon under their own canopies versus each othersʻ canopies. In this way, we had a more mechanistic understanding of why adding ohia litter under koa may, or may not, alter soil nutrient cycling.

Item Actions

View Item as ...

Save Item as ...

View Item...