Nutrient dynamics within amazonian forest ecosystems : I. Nutrient flux in fine litter fall and efficiency of nutrient utilization

Oecologia. 1986 Sep;68(3):466-472. doi: 10.1007/BF01036756.


A comparative analysis on the rate of fine litterfall and its associated nutrient fluxes was carried out in a mixed forest on Tierra Firme, a tall Amazon Caatinga and a Bana on podsolized sands near San Carlos de Rio Negro. There was seasonality in leaf fall and total litterfall in mixed forest and tall Amazon Caatinga forest but no definite trend in the Bana. Litterfall curves were significantly correlated among sites indicating common regulating factors in the three forests. Leaf litter from mixed forest on Tierra Firme was richer in N with extremely low Ca and Mg concentrations; tall Amazon Caatinga litter had higher P and Mg concentration, while Bana litter was low in N but K concentration was twice as high as in the other two forests. Annual fine litterfall in Tierra Firme mixed forest was nearly 4 times higher than in Bana, But N flux was 10 times higher, while Ca and Mg fluxes were similar. Tall Amazon Caatinga had Ca and Mg fluxes in litterfall 2-3 times higher than the other two forests. Within-stand efficiency of nitrogen, calcium and magnesium use, as measured by biomass/nutrient ratios, differentiates Tierra Firme from Caatinga and Bana forest: Tierra Firme has the lowest N, but the highest Ca and Mg use efficiencies. Higher P use efficiency was measured in Bana followed by Tierra Firme and Caatinga; while Tierra Firme and Caatinga showed similar higher K use efficiencies than Bana. N/P ratios indicates that Tierra Firme forest is limited by P availability, while low N availability predominates in Caatinga. Bana appears limited by both N and P. These differences probably relate to variations in degree of sclerophylly and leaf duration which determine leaf nutrient concentrations in the ecosystems studied.