Nutrient dynamics of a Puerto Rican subtropical dry forest

  • Lugo A
  • Murphy P
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Soils of the Guanica forest have high total amounts of N (9100kg/ha), P (1820kg/ha), and K (7460kg/ha), but high extractable Ca (>4000mg/g) and pH (>7-8) may explain why only 1.3 and 25% of the total P and K, respectively, were extractable. Total ecosystem storage of N, P and K was 10 300, 1900 and 7700kg/ha, respectively, of which vegetation stored only 10, 2 and 3%, respectively. Litterfall returned 26, 18 and 180% per year of the N, P and K stored in the ground litter compartment. Trees retranslocated approx 30 and 65% of the N and P required to satisfy aboveground net primary production and immobilized P in dead roots. Slow leaf decomposition (7.3yr for 95% decomposition) released K faster than mass, P as fast as mass, and ash and N slower than mass. The use efficiency of P by litterfall was high compared with other tropical forests, while that of N and K was similar to other tropical and temperate forests. Cutting and regrowth of vegetation resulted in differences in the nutrient concentration in litterfall and nutrient use efficiency of successional vegetation.-from Authors

Author-supplied keywords

  • Puerto Rico
  • biosphere reserve
  • dry forests
  • nitrogen
  • nutrient cycling
  • phosphorus
  • potassium
  • soil chemistry
  • subtropical forests

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  • Ariel E. Lugo

  • Peter G. Murphy

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