The rate of decomposition of cattle dung in a riverine and a grassland habitat
Kairu, Eunice W
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The influence of season, habitat, chemical composition and invertebrate fauna on the rate of decomposition of cattle dung was studied at Kenyatta University College, Kenya, from September 1984 to May 1985. The rate of loss in ash-free dry weight of dung was used as the measure of the rate of decomposition. Litter bags were used to contain the dung and to exclude fauna. Fine-mesh bags (0.1 mm) excluded most fauna while coarse-mesh bags (10 mm) allowed most fauna Decomposition during the dry season was very slow and half lives of dung pats were more than 100 days. Decomposition was faster in the wet season and half lives ranged from 2 to 73 days. Habitat and mesh-size of bags had no effect on the rate of decomposition during the dry season. However, in the wet season, the rate of decomposition of dung in coarse-mesh bags was approximately double that of dung in fine-mesh bags due to the added removal of dung by fauna. Dllng in fine-mesh bags decomposed at the same rate regardless of habitat while that in coarse-mesh bags in the grassland habitat decomposed 1.3 times faster than in the riverine habitat.