, Volume 67, Issue 1, pp 73–91

Rainfall input, throughfall and stemflow of nutrients in a central African rain forest dominated by ectomycorrhizal trees

  • G.B. Chuyong
  • D.M. Newbery
  • N.C. Songwe

DOI: 10.1023/

Cite this article as:
Chuyong, G., Newbery, D. & Songwe, N. Biogeochemistry (2004) 67: 73. doi:10.1023/


Incident rainfall is a major source of nutrient input to a forest ecosystem and the consequent throughfall and stemflow contribute to nutrient cycling. These rain-based fluxes were measured over 12 mo in two forest types in Korup National Park, Cameroon, one with low (LEM) and one with high (HEM) ectomycorrhizal abundances of trees. Throughfall was 96.6 and 92.4% of the incident annual rainfall (5370 mm) in LEM and HEM forests respectively; stemflow was correspondingly 1.5 and 2.2%. Architectural analysis showed that ln(funneling ratio) declined linearly with increasing ln(basal area) of trees. Mean annual inputs of N, P, K, Mg and Ca in incident rainfall were 1.50, 1.07, 7.77, 5.25 and 9.27 kg ha−1, and total rain-based inputs to the forest floor were 5.0, 3.2, 123.4, 14.4 and 37.7 kg ha−1 respectively. The value for K is high for tropical forests and that for N is low. Nitrogen showed a significantly lower loading of throughfall and stemflow in HEM than in LEM forest, this being associated in the HEM forest with a greater abundance of epiphytic bryophytes which may absorb more N. Incident rainfall provided c. 35% of the gross input of P to the forest floor (i.e., rain-based plus small litter inputs), a surprisingly high contribution given the sandy P-poor soils. At the start of the wet season leaching of K from the canopy was particularly high. Calcium in the rain was also highest at this time, most likely due to washing off of dry-deposited Harmattan dusts. It is proposed that throughfall has an important 'priming' function in the rapid decomposition of litter and mineralization of P at the start of the wet season. The contribution of P inputted from the atmosphere appears to be significant when compared to the rates of P mineralization from leaf litter.

Atmospheric input Ectomycorrhizas Korup Leaching Phosphorus Priming effect 

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • G.B. Chuyong
  • D.M. Newbery
  • N.C. Songwe

There are no affiliations available

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