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Table 5 Summary of the roles of soil fauna and microbes in litter decomposition process

From: Role of litter production and its decomposition, and factors affecting the processes in a tropical forest ecosystem: a review

Soil fauna• Mix the mineral soil and soil organic matter and change the water infiltration and water regimeBrown 1995; Lavelle et al. 1997)
• Alter the soil physical, chemical, and biological activities through tilleringGonzalez et al. 2001; Gonzalez and Zou 1999
• Increase the surface area of substrate for microbial useGonzalez et al. 2001; Gonzalez and Zou 1999
• Stimulate the microbial population which are involved the decomposition processGonzalez et al. 2001; Gonzalez and Zou 1999
• Releases soil enzymes, which can help to process root-driven carbon, small organic matter, and fresh aboveground litter, as energy source for bacteria (for example, fungi)Schinner 1996; Gonzalez and Zou 1999
• Synthesize cellulose and lignin-degrading enzymes (for example, actinomycetes)McCarthy 1987; Crawford 1988
• Microalgae fix nitrogen and produce organic matter via photosynthesis.Crawford 1988; Gonzalez and Zou 1999
• Augment the nutrient in soil by adding nitrogenous compounds present in their excreta and dead tissueGonzalez and Zou 1999; Gonzalez et al. 2001
Soil microbes• Release soil enzymes for the purpose of breaking the larger compoundsVivanco and Austin 2008; Brady and Weil 2010;
• Decompose the fragmented litter and release nutrientsLaganiere et al. 2010