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Leaf nutrient dynamics of two tree species and litter nutrient content in Southern Bakundu Forest Reserve, Cameroon


Leaf nutrient dynamics of two tree species and litter nutrient content in Southern Bakundu Forest Reserve, Cameroon



Journal of Tropical Ecology 13(1): 1-15



ISSN/ISBN: 0266-4674

DOI: 10.1017/s026646740001021x

The variations in macronutrient concentrations of the leaves of Terminalia superba and Pycanthus angolensis were studied and the concentrations of nutrients in leaves before abscission were compared with those after abscission. The amounts of nutrients returned to the forest floor were also computed from litter fall data at the start of maximum annual fall in the Reserve. With the exception of potassium in Pycanthus angolensis, there were significant variations in the nutrient concentrations of the two species with the time of year. With increasing leaf age the concentration of nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and magnesium declined in Terminalia superba while magnesium concentration decreased in Pycanthus angolensis leaves. Furthermore, calcium showed an increasing concentration in Terminalia superba with increase in leaf age. The concentrations of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium decreased before leaf fall. Estimated losses in nitrogen phosphorus and potassium before abscission were 44, 53 and 50%, respectively, whereas generally there was an increase (40%) in the concentration of calcium at leaf fall. Magnesium did not follow a definite pattern. The return of calcium through litter fall to the forest floor was the greatest of all the major elements. The distribution and variation of foliar nutrient concentrations in the leaves of Terminalia superba and Pycanthus angolensis and the importance of the amount of litter and the concentration of the various nutrients in the influencing soil fertility are discussed.

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Accession: 002884567

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