Biology and Fertility of Soils

, Volume 48, Issue 6, pp 665–678 | Cite as

Soil and tree response to P fertilization in a secondary tropical forest supported by an Oxisol

  • Daniel Markewitz
  • Ricardo de O. Figueiredo
  • Cláudio J. Reis de Carvalho
  • Eric A. Davidson
Original Paper

Abstract

Mature tropical forests are considered to be P limited and to cycle P efficiently. Whether P limitations are significant in younger secondary tropical forests, however, remains largely unexplored. This study evaluated P limitation by observing the P fertilizer response of a naturally regenerated 24-year-old forest and its soil. In February 1999, six 20 × 20-m plots were established in secondary forest in the Brazilian Amazon. After 1 year of pre-treatment tree measurements, 50 kg P ha−1 was applied in January 2000 and again in January 2001. Soil sorption of P was relatively low (∼100 μg g−1) in the surface 0–20 cm while sorption increased to ∼180 μg g−1 at 20–50 cm and approached ∼500 μg g−1 for the 50- to 200-cm layers. Soil P in 0–10 cm, measured as sequentially extractable fractions (resin, HCO3-Pi, NaOH-Pi, NaOH-Po, and 1 M HCl), increased shortly after fertilization and could account for nearly all the 50 kg P ha−1 added at each date. During the following 6 years, soil P in fertilized plots declined in all pools other than resin P, and by June 2006, concentrations returned to pre-fertilization levels. Despite the increase in extractable P with fertilization, increased tree growth was not detected from stand age 25 to 31 years. It appears that during secondary forest succession at this site, the forest P cycle was conservative so as to maintain available P at a sufficient concentration to meet forest P demands.

Keywords

P limitation P fractionation Labile P P sorption 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniel Markewitz
    • 1
  • Ricardo de O. Figueiredo
    • 2
  • Cláudio J. Reis de Carvalho
    • 3
  • Eric A. Davidson
    • 4
  1. 1.Warnell School of Forestry and Natural ResourcesThe University of GeorgiaAthensUSA
  2. 2.EMBRAPA Meio AmbienteJaguariunaBrazil
  3. 3.EMBRAPA Amazônia OrientalBelémBrazil
  4. 4.The Woods Hole Research CenterFalmouthUSA

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