Great Lakes Worm Watch

Forest Ecology and Worms »

Total Leaf Litter Calculation

Let’s say you have a forest 1 hectare in size (that’s 10,000 square meters). You put out 10 litter trays throughout the forest that were 1 square meter in size (total area sampled = 10 square meters). In the fall you collected all the litter, dried it and weighed it (grams of dry litter) and then you calculate an average biomass of litter per square meter in your forest. For example, let’s say you go these values from each of your litter trays…

Tray 1 = 150 grams of dry litter
Tray 2 = 200 grams of dry litter
Tray 3 = 208 grams of dry litter
Tray 4 = 210 grams of dry litter
Tray 5 = 160 grams of dry litter
Tray 6 = 170 grams of dry litter
Tray 7 = 173 grams of dry litter
Tray 8 = 203 grams of dry litter
Tray 9 = 206 grams of dry litter
Tray 10 = 186 grams of dry litter

Then your average litter fall pre square meter (remember each sample tray was 1 sq. meter) would be 186.6 grams of dry litter per square meter. Written in scientific style that would be 186.6 g/m².

Then, to calculate an estimate of total dry leaf litter for your 1 hectare forest you would multiply your average per square meter by the number of square meters in your forest…

186.6 g/m²  X  10,000 m²  =  1,866,000 grams of dry leaf litter!

The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer.
© 1999-2011 University of Minnesota Duluth Privacy Statement
Natural Resources Research Institute
5013 Miller Trunk Highway
Duluth, MN 55811       218-788-2710