Litterfall, Decomposition, and Nitrogen and Phosphorus Dynamics in a Chronosequence of Slash Pine (Pinus elliottii) Plantations
Litterfall and decomposition dynamics were examined for 2 years in a slash pine (Pinus elliottii) plantation age sequence (3-36 years old) on a sandy soil in northern Florida. Average total litterfall after canopy closure (for five stands 15-35 years old) was 4,993 kg ha-1. yr-1. Needle litterfall increased with stand age to a peak of 4,453 kg.ha-1.yr-1 at age 15-16 years, then declined in older stands. Nitrogen and phosphorus concentrations in needle litterfall were lowest in the fall when the greatest litterfall occurred, and highest in the winter when the least litterfall occurred. Organic matter losses from decomposing needle litter were similar in all stands for the first 18 months; at 24 months a significant stand age effect was noted, with needles in the older stands showing slower mass losses than those in the younger stands. The average decay rate over 24 mo was 15 percent/yr, slow compared with studies from other forest types. Fresh needle litter from all stands was relatively high in lignin and low in P and N compared to litter from other forest types. Needle N content remained relatively constant over 24 months whereas P content increased from 0 to 90 percent over the original amounts, with needles from older stands showing greater P accumulations. Slow decomposition and mineralization rates on these nutrient-poor sites may be attributed to plantation establishment and the concomitant reduction in the frequency of low intensity fires. Forest Sci. 31:463-478.
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Document Type: Journal Article
Affiliations: Biologist, School of Forest Resources and Conservation, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611
Publication date: 1985-06-01
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