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Alterations in litter decomposition patterns in tropical montane forests of Colombia: a comparison of oak forests and coniferous plantations

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Understanding the alterations in litter decay patterns that follow changes in land use in tropical montane forests is essential for comprehending carbon, energy, and nutrient dynamics in this understudied ecosystem. The main objective of this study was to determine the changes in organic matter, carbon return, and nutrient cycling when oak forests are replaced by coniferous plantations in tropical montane forests. Five litter decay models (single, double, and triple pool exponential, gamma pk , log-uniform pk ) were used to fit litter mass loss data over time. Although all models properly fitted the data, the triple pool exponential model was chosen because all parameters (coefficient of determination (R 2), mean square of error (MSE), and Akaike information criterion (AIC)) were statistically the most adequate. Results indicated that litter of coniferous species decomposes more slowly than oak litter material, thus slowing the nutrient cycling. In this study, lignin content, C:N ratio, and N:P ratio were poor predictors of litter decomposition.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Centre Tecnologic Forestal de Catalunya (CTFC). Crta. de Sant Llorenç de Morunys, Km.2, 25280 Solsona - Spain. 2: Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Departamento de Biociencias, Ciencias Forestales y Ciencias Agronómicas, Calle 59A No. 63-20, Office 14-418, Medellín, Colombia. 3: Universidad de Salamanca, Facultad de Ciencias Agrarias y Ambientales. Avd. Filiberto Villalobos 119, Salamanca 37007, Spain. 4: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Apdo. 257, Salamanca 37071, Spain.

Publication date: January 1, 2013

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  • Published since 1971, this monthly journal features articles, reviews, notes and commentaries on all aspects of forest science, including biometrics and mensuration, conservation, disturbance, ecology, economics, entomology, fire, genetics, management, operations, pathology, physiology, policy, remote sensing, social science, soil, silviculture, wildlife and wood science, contributed by internationally respected scientists. It also publishes special issues dedicated to a topic of current interest.
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