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Litterfall and nutrient fluxes in two montane tropical rain forests, Colombia

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  10 July 2009

Erik J. Veneklaas
Affiliation:
Department of Plant Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Utrecht, Lange Nieuwstraat 106, 3512 PN Utrecht, The Netherlands

Abstract

Litterfall was sampled during one year in two undisturbed Andean forests at altitudes of 2550 and 3370 m in the Colombian Cordillera Central. Total small litterfall at 2550 and 3370 m was 7.03 and 4.31 tha-1 y-1 respectively, of which 4.61 and 2.82 were leaves, 1.06 and 0.76 woody parts, 0.66 and 0.27 reproductive parts, 0.22 and 0.23 epiphytes, 0.47 and 0.23 unclassified.

Clear differences were also found in nutrient concentrations, both between different litter fractions from one site and between equivalent litter fractions from different sites. Weighted mean concentrations for total small litterfall were (mgg-1, at 2550 and 3370m respectively): 11.7 and 7.3 for nitrogen; 0.86 and 0.44 for phosphorus; 8.4 and 3.1 for potassium. Comparison of nutrient concentrations in crown leaves and shed leaves indicated important reallocation of nitrogen (39% at both sites) and phosphorus (45% at 2550m, 65% at 3370m) before leaf shedding.

The results for litterfall amounts, litter nutrient concentrations and reallocation of nutrients in the two forests are consistent with such data obtained in other montane forests in the wet tropics.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1991

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