Biology and Fertility of Soils

, Volume 39, Issue 1, pp 62–64 | Cite as

Nitrogen availability and leaching during the terrestrial phase in a várzea forest of the Central Amazon floodplain

  • Heidi Kreibich
  • Johannes Lehmann
  • Gabriela Scheufele
  • Jürgen Kern
Short Communication


Availability and leaching of dissolved inorganic N (DIN = NH4 + + NO3 -) in soil were measured in a periodically flooded forest of the Central Amazon floodplain (várzea) during one terrestrial phase. Special emphasis was on the effects of a legume and a non-legume tree species. NH4 +-N accounted for more than 85% of DIN even at the end of the terrestrial phase although it decreased throughout the experimental period. While extractable NO3 -N was always low in the soil (less than 15% of DIN), the amount of leached NO3 -N was in the same range as NH4 +-N. Under the legume trees mean DIN contents of the topsoil were higher than under the non-legume trees. DIN leaching from the topsoil (0–20 cm) was significantly higher under the legume trees than at the other sites, also indicating a higher N availability. Therefore, despite considerable leaching legume trees may be an important source of N supporting a high biomass production of the várzea forest.


Inundation forest Leaching Inorganic nitrogen Tree species effect Legume trees 



This study was carried out within the German-Brazilian SHIFT co-operation funded by the German Ministry of Science, Education and Technology (BMBF no. 0339641 5A) and the Brazilian Scientific Organisation (CNPq).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Heidi Kreibich
    • 1
    • 4
  • Johannes Lehmann
    • 2
  • Gabriela Scheufele
    • 3
  • Jürgen Kern
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Agricultural Engineering (ATB)PotsdamGermany
  2. 2.College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Department of Crop and Soil SciencesCornell UniversityIthacaUSA
  3. 3.University of TrierTrierGermany
  4. 4.Section 5.4 Engineering HydrologyGeoForschungsZentrum PotsdamPotsdamGermany

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