, Volume 13, Issue 4, pp 333-346

Organic matter and nutrient cycles under moist tropical forest

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Summary

The amount and composition of litter and of rain, falling beneath a tropical high forest, have been measured. The litter fell continuously through the year. It was considerably richer in nitrogen than the litter of temperate forests. On the forest floor it decomposed extremely rapidly, at a late of 1.3 per cent per day. Sixteen per cent of the annual rainfall was intercepted by the canopy and evaporated before it reached the ground.

Compared with amounts falling in the litter, very large amounts of K, significant amounts of P and Mg, but only small amounts of N and Ca were washed out of the canopy by the rain. The main anion accompanying the cations in the leaf drips was HCO3. Little Na, Cl, or SO4 was leached from the leaves.

The amounts of nutrients in the litter fall and in the rain wash, together with an estimate of the amounts in the timber fall, have been added together to give the rate of the nutrient cycle under this forest.