Litter breakdown and mineralization in a central African rain forest dominated by ectomycorrhizal trees

Chuyong, Georg; Newbery, David McClintock; Songwe, N. C. (2002). Litter breakdown and mineralization in a central African rain forest dominated by ectomycorrhizal trees. Biogeochemistry, 61(1), pp. 73-94. Springer 10.1023/A:1020276430119

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Based on litter mass and litterfall data, decomposition rates for leaves were found to be fast (k = 3.3) and the turnover times short (3.6 mo) on the low-nutrient sandy soils of Korup. Leaf litter of four ectomycorrhizal tree species (Berlinia bracteosa, Didelotia africana, Microberlinia bisulcata and Tetraberlinia bifoliolata) and of three non-ectomycorrhizal species (Cola verticillata, Oubanguia alata and Strephonema pseudocola) from Korup were left to decompose in 2-mm mesh bags on the forest floor in three plots of each of two forest types forest of low (LEM) and high (HEM) abundance of ectomycorrhizal (caesalp) trees. The litter of the ectomycorrhizal species decayed at a significantly slower rate than that of the non-ectomycorrhizal species, although the former were richer in P and N concentrations of the start. Disappearance rates of the litter layer showed a similar trend. Ectomycorrhizal species immobilized less N, but mineralized more P, than non-ectomycorrhizal species. Differences between species groups in K, Mg and Ca mineralization were negligible. Effect of forest type was clear only for Mg: mineralization of Mg was faster in the HEM than LEM plots, a pattern repeated across all species. This difference was attributed to a much more prolific fine root mat in the HEM than LEM forest. The relatively fast release of P from the litter of the ectomycorrhizal species suggests that the mat must allow an efficient uptake to maintain P in the forest ecosystem.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Plant Sciences (IPS)
08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Plant Sciences (IPS) > Vegetation Ecology [discontinued]

UniBE Contributor:

Chuyong, Georg and Newbery, David McClintock

Subjects:

500 Science > 580 Plants (Botany)

ISSN:

0168-2563

Publisher:

Springer

Language:

English

Submitter:

Peter Alfred von Ballmoos-Haas

Date Deposited:

15 Aug 2014 13:59

Last Modified:

30 Dec 2014 10:00

Publisher DOI:

10.1023/A:1020276430119

Uncontrolled Keywords:

caesalps, Central Africa, decomposition, ectomycorrhizas, magnesium, mineralization, phosphorus release

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.53831

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/53831

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