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Ito E.,Japan Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute | Toriyama J.,FFPRI | Araki M.,FFPRI | Kiyono Y.,FFPRI | And 5 more authors.
Japan Agricultural Research Quarterly | Year: 2014

Litter plays key roles in forest ecosystems, and forest degradation is likely to spur a further decline in leaf litterfall inputs to forest soils. However, the effects on physicochemical surface-soil properties remain largely unknown, especially in seasonal tropical forest ecosystems. We initiated a litterremoval manipulation experiment in a Cambodian lowland evergreen forest undergoing intensive selective logging. Litter removal performed for 2 and 4.4 years respectively triggered an increase in bulk density and decrease in surface-soil carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) contents to 67 and 73% of the original levels, respectively. After only 2 years of treatment, bulk density rose to very high value (>1.40 Mg m-3) likely preventing further soil compaction, while the C and N reduction effects lasted over 2 years. Greater soil compaction occurs in stands with a smaller initial bulk density. However, C (N)-rich soils did not necessarily lose a greater relative proportion of C (N) than C (N)-poor soils. Although N remained above C following the litter removal, conservative trends in the C:N ratio suggested a limited capacity for N retention. Together, our data suggest that shifts in leaf litter inputs in response to localized human disturbances may have rapid and lasting consequences on physicochemical surface-soil properties; possibly accelerated by a tropical climate. Moreover, a speedy recovery to an adequate litter supply, at least before reaching the upper soil compaction limit, is essential to conserve forest ecosystems.

Loading Forest and Wildlife Science Research Institute FWRSI collaborators
Loading Forest and Wildlife Science Research Institute FWRSI collaborators