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Early effect of elevated nitrogen input on above-ground net primary production of a lower montane rain forest, Panama

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  08 October 2009

Markus Adamek
Affiliation:
Soil Science of Tropical and Subtropical Ecosystems, Büsgen Institute, Georg-August-University Göttingen, Büsgenweg 2, 37077 Göttingen, Germany
Marife D. Corre
Affiliation:
Soil Science of Tropical and Subtropical Ecosystems, Büsgen Institute, Georg-August-University Göttingen, Büsgenweg 2, 37077 Göttingen, Germany
Dirk Hölscher
Affiliation:
Tropical Silviculture and Forest Ecology, Burckhardt Institute, Georg-August-University Göttingen, Büsgenweg 1, 37077 Göttingen, Germany
Corresponding
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Abstract:

To evaluate N limitation on above-ground net primary production in a tropical lower montane rain forest, an N fertilization experiment was conducted for 2 y. The study site is located at 1200–1300 m asl in the Fortuna forest reserve in western Panama and has a mature, mixed-species stand growing on an Andisol soil. Control and N-fertilized (125 kg urea-N ha−1 y−1) treatments were represented by four replicate plots (each 40 × 40 m, separated by at least 40 m). Stem diameter growth was analysed by diameter at breast height classes and also for the three most abundant species. The three species did not respond to N addition. The response of stem growth and above-ground woody biomass production to N fertilization varied among dbh classes. Stem growth of trees of 10–30 cm dbh increased only in the first year of N addition while trees of 30–50 cm dbh responded in the second year of N addition, which may be due to differences in light conditions between years. Trees >50 cm dbh did not respond during 2 years of N addition. As a result, the overall stem growth and above-ground woody biomass production were not affected by N fertilization. Annual total fine litterfall increased in the first year of N fertilization, while annual leaf litterfall increased in both years of N addition. Above-ground net primary production, of which total fine litterfall constituted 68%, also increased only in the first year of N addition. The magnitude and timing of response of stem diameter growth and litterfall suggest that these aspects of above-ground productivity are not uniformly limited by N availability.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2009

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