Plant litter represents a major carbon pool in the global carbon cycle and accurate estimates of litter decomposition resulting in a major flux of CO2 to the atmosphere will allow to better constrain carbon turnover in ecosystems. Therefore a global approach – the TeaComposition Initiative – was taken (more info here: TeaComposition).
In brief, within the TeaComposition initiative, tea bags are buried into soils globally and again dug up after specific amount of time. The individual teabags are weighed and analyzed and specific decay curves for two different tea types can be derived. Currently 190 institution contribute to this initiative and still few sites are located on the African continent. Mazingira, with the help of PhD candidate Victoria Carbonell, joined the initiative with two sites in Central Kenya.
Only recently, a scientific publication with the first results of this initiative was accepted in Science of the Total Environment with contributions of Victoria Carbonell (Djukic et al. (2018) Early stage litter decomposition across biomes. Science of the Total Environment (in press). Congratulations to everyone involved!
More information on the methodology used can be found here.