In forested ecosystems leaf litter is generally the primary pathway through which nutrients are cycled from the canopy to the forest floor (other pathways include throughfall, stemflow and animal faeces; Jordan 1985). Consequently, any disturbance that alters the quantity or quality of litter can have dramatic impacts on nutrient cycling and the availability of essential nutrients to plants (Vitousek 1984). Fragmentation of tropical forests has been demonstrated to cause several changes in both the biotic (Cosson et al. 1999, Laurance et al. 1998, Saunders et al. 1991) and abiotic environments (Camargo & Kapos 1995, Debinski & Holt 2000, Laurance 2002, Laurance et al. 2002) and thus may influence litter accumulation in the remnant patches (Carvalho & Vasconcelos 1999, Didham 1998, Laurance et al. 2002).
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