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Some nutrient dynamics associated with litterfall and litter decomposition in hoop pine plantations of southeast Queensland, Australia

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Bubb, K.A., Xu, Z.H., Simpson, J.A. and Saffigna, P. G. (1998) Some nutrient dynamics associated with litterfall and litter decomposition in hoop pine plantations of southeast Queensland, Australia. Forest Ecology and Management, 110 (1-3). pp. 343-352. ISSN 0378-1127

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Article Link: https://doi.org/10.1016/S0378-1127(98)00295-3


Litterfall was collected over a 12-month period with littertraps in hoop pine (Araucaria cunninghamii) plantations aged 10, 14 and 62 years in southeast Queensland, Australia. The bulk of litterfall occurred during spring, mainly as hoop pine foliage with the annual litterfall ranging between 6.0 and 10.9 t ha−1, respectively, for the younger stands (10 and 14 years) and the mature 62-year old stand. The amount of nitrogen (N) and phosphorous (P) recycled annually through litterfall was lower in the younger stands (28–37 kg N ha−1 and 4.4–5.3 kg P ha−1) compared with that of the mature stand (85 N ha−1 and 6.2 kg P ha−1). The N and P retranslocated during senescence varied across the three stands studied with a trend for N and P retranslocation to increase as availability of soil mineral-N decreased.

Decomposition of the hoop pine foliage component of litter was also studied in the same stands using a litterbag technique and mass-balance analysis. The estimated half-life of hoop pine foliage mass ranged between 1.5 and 1.8 years. Litter-mass loss was strongly correlated with litter substrate quality indicators of N, C, P, C/N ratio, lignin, lignin/N ratio and polyphenols. During the course of the study, there was no difference in litter-mass loss between the stands of different ages. During the 15-month period, the order of element release from the hoop pine litter was K>Na>C>Mg>P, with N, Ca and Mn generally demonstrating varying degrees of net accumulation. During the course of the study, the lignin/C ratio of the hoop pine litter increased from 0.61 to 0.96. This suggested that the litter-C was predominantly in a recalcitrant form and, therefore, the associated N was unlikely to be rapidly released in the hoop pine litter layer.

Item Type:Article
Keywords:Araucaria cunninghamii; Litter decomposition; Litterfall; Litter half-life; Nitrogen cycle; Nutrient release; Litter quality
Subjects:Forestry > Research. Experimentation
Forestry > Special aspects of forestry
Live Archive:15 Mar 2024 05:00
Last Modified:15 Mar 2024 05:00

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