Leaf litter traps

The palm that traps the most leaf litter is the giant mature Attalea cohune Mart., the corozo palm. Anything and everything that falls down from above is caught by the broken off frond bases. This anything and everything is leaf litter; it rots and forms a soil-like mulch that other plants love to grow in.

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While hiking through the thickly forested areas of Municipio de Livingston, Depar- tamento de Izabal, Guatemala, you see millions of fallen leaves on the ground. Often you see little or no soil: only craggy karst geology (limestone all the way to the sur- face but fissured and cracked). Even if you have never studied soil science or ecolo- gy, you realize that leaves falling over thousands of years are one source of the little soil that is not washed away in the torrential Neotropical rainstorms

Dr. Nicholas Hellmuth

March 2021

Design and Layout:
Cristina Ríos

Nicholas Hellmuth
María Alejandra Gutiérrez
David Arrivillaga
Juan Pablo Fumagalli
Víctor Mendoza
Senaida Ba


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