To assess whether the theoretical results obtained in the model can be in accordance with experimental results, the model was fitted to laboratory data obtained by Gogo et al. (2016). In this experiment, the mixture of the wet, slow decomposing litter of Srubellum (equivalent to WET‐LIT) with the dry, fast decomposing litter of Mcaerulea (equivalent to DRY‐LIT) generated a synergistic effect on decomposition.

First, the equation of litter water content loss with time (Equation 5) was fitted to the data to obtain the e parameter for each litter alone (Table 2; Supplementary Material S1). The initial litter water contents were set based on the first water content measured after 2 days of incubation (measured value rounded up to the integer, e.g., 21.56 gave 22).

Values of the parameter set (LWCmax = maximum litter water content in g of water g−1 of dry mass) and obtained (k max and e in d−1 and c and d in g of water g−1 of dry mass) by fitting the model to the experimental data of the decomposition of Sphagnum rubellum and Molinia caerulea alone

Then, the equation of the remaining mass after decomposition (Equation 1) was fitted to the measured remaining mass of each litter decomposing alone (Supplementary Material S2). To do so, the decay rate k in Equation 1 was allowed to vary according to Equation 3 (Bunnell et al., 1977 model). To determine k, the litter water content (LWC) modeled in the first phase was used. It is the k max, c, and d parameters that were tuned to adjust the modeled remaining mass to those measured.

The equations were adjusted to the observed data by minimizing the square difference between modeled and observed data (least square difference technique) with the solver function in Excel. To avoid issues of nonconvergence or unrealistic values, k max, c, and d were set superior to zero and the two latter parameters were set to be inferior to LWCmax value (22). All the fitted parameters are listed in Table 2.

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