Biogeochemical properties of a tropical swamp forest ecosystem in southern Thailand
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The distributions of organic matter in the tropical swamps in southern Thailand are reported. The concentrations of particulate and dissolved organic carbon (POC and DOC) in the Bang Nara River, which drains swamp forests and nearby paddy fields, were 2.9 ± 2.0 and 6.2 ± 1.3 mg C l−1, respectively. Although the variation was large, DOC concentration in the Bang Nara River seemed to be higher than POC in November 1992 (DOC/POC ratio, 2.8 ± 2.2). River waters from the upland areas were characterized by low POC and DOC concentrations as compared with Bang Nara River water. The δ13C values of POC and river sediments were useful to distinguish between organic matter originating in upland and swamp areas. It is suggested that the distributions of organic matter and its isotopic composition reflect the difference in drainage characteristics between lowland swamp and upland areas. Isotopic analyses of plant leaves and soils revealed that the swamp forest ecosystems were characterized by low δ13C and low δ15N values, which suggested low efficiency of water use by plants and large contributions of atmospheric deposition of nitrogen, respectively. Although CO2 recycling in the forest might be an important factor determining the δ13C values of understory plants, the main process in carbon metabolism of tropical swamp forests would be CO2 exchange between the atmosphere and forest canopy.
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